Update Summer 16

The post-Brexit landscape for ethics and compliance

Britain’s decision to leave the EU sent shock waves around the globe. Markets reacted badly to the news in the short term, but until the terms are negotiated, it won’t be clear what exactly this means for UK companies.

From an ethics perspective, it should be business as usual. In or out of the EU, it matters how you conduct your business. Indeed much of the negative sentiment behind the Leave vote would indicate that businesses have an important post-Brexit role in re-shaping Britain. The first statement from the UK’s new Prime Minister has called for more responsible business practices, urging companies to do their bit to build a more equal society.
From the compliance angle, these will be interesting times as we wait to see what legislative changes may be made if the UK ceases to be bound by EU rules.

However, the UK must take care not to overload businesses by changing legislation just to move away from so-called red tape. Some legislation will apply to companies whatever our trading arrangements, so care must be taken to avoid binding organisations to two sets of rules. The recently passed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a case in point.

The UK would be wise to accept the GDPR into UK law knowing that this will give corporates one set of rules to follow while also meeting EU requirements for the adequate protection of cross-border data transfers.

These could be challenging times for compliance teams, but from what we have seen, companies that embed a robust code of conduct which sets out clear expectations of behaviour, are less likely to find themselves infringing the rules.

Embedding ethical conduct into day-to-day business practices may never have been so important.

Michael Littlechild

GoodCorporation risk assessment workshops help with Modern Slavery Act statements

Human Rights-MSA small

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index an estimated 45.8 million people are currently enslaved in the world. While slavery is illegal in almost every country, the UK’s Modern Slavery Act (MSA) is one of the few pieces of legislation that holds businesses to account for the occurrence of slavery within their supply chain.

To meet the requirements of the MSA, businesses covered by the legislation are expected to prepare an annual Modern Slavery Statement (MSS) to demonstrate the effectiveness of measures taken to prevent slavery, showing improvement over time.

Understanding the risks is clearly the first step in getting this right and a summary of the results should be included in any report.

GoodCorporation is increasingly working with businesses to help them identify the risks of modern slavery and other human rights abuses to which their businesses could be vulnerable.

Our modern slavery and human rights workshops enable the relevant members of the management team to undertake an in-depth evaluation of these risks.

A workshop approach ensures engagement with and ownership of the issue, leading to the development of a clear risk matrix supported by appropriate and robust mitigation strategies. The output from the sessions should inform the development or review of existing policies and can also be incorporated into the MSS.

For full details of this service click here.

In Brief...

GoodCorporation appointed by the BBC

Following the publication of the Dame Janet Smith Report in February, GoodCorporation has been asked to conduct an independent audit of the BBC’s policies and systems for child protection; whistleblowing; investigations; bullying & harassment and managing complaints, to ensure they are fit for purpose.

This work follows on from our review of the BBC’s child protection and whistleblowing policies submitted to the Dame Janet Smith Review in 2015.

Protecting personal data: how can businesses ensure they have adequate procedures?

The digitisation of our personal information has made data vulnerable as Nationwide, TalkTalk, T-Mobile and even HMRC have all discovered in the last ten years.

Our Summer Business Ethics Debate was led by Jonathan Bamford, Head of Strategic Liaison at the Information Commissioner’s Office who argued that robust data protection is essential for a thriving digital economy.

Businesses were asked to discuss what adequate data protection looked like and if they felt their current systems would meet the new requirements which many will be bound by, irrespective of our future arrangements with the EU.

To read a summary of the debate click here

Under investigation?

Tough anti-bribery legislation, increased resources for prosecutors and robust policy statements from both sides of the Atlantic show that tackling corruption is still high on the agenda.

Exposure for corruption is a major risk for corporates and more businesses are finding themselves under the regulator’s spotlight or that of their own audit and compliance teams.

GoodCorporation offers a range of services that can help businesses manage both internal and external investigations.

We can provide forensic analysis, defence case support and manage internal eDiscovery. We offer anti-corruption expertise, impartial advice and are able to assist with any regulatory enquiries.

For full details of our work in this area, click here.