How To Hate Compliance Less – And Have More Time.

Let’s be honest, compliance is a pain in the neck.

Who has the time to deal with this?

Who has the time, energy and patience and expertise to deal with endless rules and regulations?

What would compliance look like if it were easy? Or at least easier?

Later, we explore an easier way to make compliance simpler for your business and save you time and worry.

But first, what happens when people and businesses are not compliant?

Picture this.

You are in court.

They accused you of breaching Health & Safety guidelines.

Someone has been seriously injured and is facing life in a wheelchair.

The barrister gets to ask you questions.

You answer.

You do not speak unless asked to.

They lay the facts of the accident before the court.

Who did what? When? How? Who is ‘responsible’? Was legislation complied with?

Where is the proof? Where is the evidence?

At the cutting edge; THIS is what compliance is all about.

Not did you ‘tick the boxes’ but did you act responsibly?

Did you comply with legislation and regulation? Did you take all reasonable measures?

And do you have the proof/evidence to verify this?

Compliance is NOT optional. Here’s why.

*  In 2019/2020 there were 343 prosecutions by HSE. 95% resulted in successful convictions.

35.8 million in fines were issued..There were 1948 immediate Prohibition Notices issued where work was stopped indefinitely until remedial action was taken.

Fines are increasing from £27,000 in 2014 to £110,000 in 2019/20. (source HSE Enforcement Statistics 2020)

So why do businesses fall foul of compliance…… and end up in court?

Why  Do So Many Businesses Fail To Get Their Compliance In Order?

Businesses have to make a profit. Profit comes first.

We are all busy trying to make money under pressure.

Many of us do not have enough hours in the day as it is.

By Monday lunchtime we are drowning in emails, swamped with client calls in between endless meetings, zoom meetings and meetings about meetings.

We are time poor. We are heads down and do not have time to take stock.

We are reactive, not proactive.

Not out of choice – we just do not have time.

So what’s the solution?

How do we know we have the right compliance in place for our businesses?

Imagine having someone on your team who can wade through all the rules and regulations.

An expert on call who will guide you through the compliance maze.

Someone who has the time and expertise to make your compliance 100% watertight?

Because they do this every day.

The Answer is Delegation.

Delegate someone to oversee your compliance regime for you.

Start by commissioning a compliance audit and health check.

This is a brilliant start because it will show you where you have ‘gaps’ in your compliance.

It will highlight where you are weak and potentially at risk.

You can then take steps to fix this and plug the gaps.

But who will do this for me?

First find a trusted compliance adviser.

Someone who has the qualifications and certifications has an excellent track record in your industry.

Here are some suggestions to help you find a good adviser;

  • Do a simple Google search for consultants in your area. For example – Health & Safety or Compliance consultants in your industry – like construction or retail or manufacturing. Have a look at their website. Look for 3 things. Which of your problems can they solve? What do other businesses say about dealing with them? Can they verify their expertise?
  • Suggest a face-to-face meeting – or at the very least, a phone discussion. Prepare a list of questions to ask them. These could include their qualifications and experience and examples of businesses they have worked with.
  • A good adviser should fact find your business – they need an in-depth knowledge of your business and your challenges- your field of operations – your clients and areas of work and your potential responsibilities.
  • They should identify your needs – problems – your constraints – where you want your business to go.They should understand how you operate, your resources and the demands of your business and clients
  • Professional advisers should work with you to make sure you understand your responsibilities and how to document and record actions. You should learn how to construct a transparent audit trail for examination.
  • They should compile a detailed report and discuss it with you in person. It should include a ‘Gap Analysis’.
  • They now armed you with the facts to make informed decisions.

You now know where your compliance weaknesses are and what you need to do to correct this.

You can, of course, check any area of compliance that applies to your business.

What Can A Compliance Health Check Cover?

The check could cover ANY aspect of your business that involves complying with UK legislation, regulations, guidelines or best practice.

Anything from finance to governance.

For our example, let’s look at the following areas which apply to most UK SMEs. in building and construction.

Here is a basic list of possible compliance areas for health & safety for your business.

Health & Safety Services

COSHH assessments

The key point on what a compliance check covers is this:

It should be specific to your company and business.

It must be specific to your field of operations. It should cover your market – construction -manufacturing – retail sector – housing association – local authority – hospitality sector and so on.

In our experience, a compliance health check often helps businesses who are seeking to scale up or enter into bigger frameworks, bids or tenders.

A comprehensive and detailed compliance management system opens the door to larger contracts, better tenders and bids. Without this, they often deny access.

Let’s look at the benefits of a compliance audit;

Benefits of Health Check

  • A compliance check will show you where you are weak and strong.
  • It will help you decide whether you have needs you can meet in house or outsource to experts. Where are your gaps?
  • It may help to access bigger tenders or frameworks and more lucrative contracts.
  • The report will examine your operations – identify particular risks to your business & how to mitigate them.
  • It will look at your systems and processes and record keeping or may help with software – portals & automation and templates?

  • Your adviser may offer a retainer scheme. This allows you to only pay for what you need.
  • It may help with cheaper premiums for general Insurance and It may help to prevent non-payment of claims.

So they can make compliance easier and more cost effective and help mitigate risks to your business.

I know this from personal experience!

Compliance once saved my life.

Not my actual life, but my professional one.

In 16 years in finance, I had never had a client complaint until this moment.

The complaint was serious. They accused me of giving incorrect advice and failing in my due diligence.

I had a 3 hour interview with a compliance officer.

He had the client file (hard copy in those days!). I had to answer his questions.

So what happened? Did I get struck off?

It turned out my advice actually saved the client a great deal of money he would have otherwise lost.

He suffered from ‘selective memory’.

My compliance audit and signed and dated paperwork for every single piece of advice I gave proved my due diligence.

It exonerated me.

I guess the lesson I learned was – compliance can kill or save a business.

Quality compliance can save yours.

As much as we may dislike it, compliance is for everyone’s benefit.

No one loses out.

It is no exaggeration to say compliance saves lives, particularly in certain industries, like building and construction.

If you want to know more about a compliance health check, you can call us on…………

You can find out about our Health & Safety Compliance Retainer Packages here.