Is your Compliance Program watertight?

Every business in Australia is subject to the federal government’s Competition and Consumer Act 2010. In very simple terms, the Act is in place to protect the Australian public by promoting fair trading and competition, and by setting rigid standards for product safety and labelling.

When businesses are small and growing, the Compliance Program can be simple, to serve the needs of the scale of the enterprise. But as businesses expand and become larger, increase their market share and offer more products, the Compliance Program must scale up too.

Two people catch leaking water in a bucket

What happens if the ACCC finds an issue?

A Compliance Program is not set-and-forget. It’s true to say that in the busy rush of growing and scaling up, many businesses overlook their Compliance Program and can easily fall foul of things like evolving product safety compliance standards, especially as product line-ups become more complex.

If the ACCC does find an issue related to the Act, a business can usually offer to sign a legal undertaking, committing it to taking steps to resolve the problem. It must be said that the ACCC may either accept or refuse the undertaking, depending on the nature of the breach.

If a business has an undertaking accepted but fails to comply with its terms, a legal penalty is very likely to be the outcome. In addition, the court can also order a business to implement a suitable Compliance Program.

What’s the most efficient way to implement a scalable Compliance Program?

A Compliance Program covers a wide spectrum of a business’ everyday activities, many of which are cultural, requiring implementation of sound business practices including staff training for eventualities such as handling customer complaints. More information about Compliance Program templates can be found at the ACCC website.

For many companies, the complexity comes from the ever-changing landscape of product safety standards which are also covered by the Act. Ensuring the company meets the requirements for product compliance will help the business to avoid an expensive mandatory product recall, avoid reputational damage and possibly damaging financial penalties for breaches.

To ensure that companies’ product compliance and certification remains continuously up-to-date, our VCM (Virtual Compliance Manger) product deals with every aspect of achieving and maintaining compliance, no matter how complex the product line-up.

This communication (including any attachment) has been prepared by BWES and is based on the available information at the time of publication and is believed to be true and accurate. The information contained in this communication should be used as a guide only and may cease to apply if applicable regulation or the product’s design or application is altered. BWES does not take responsibility for any Injury, Loss for damage suffered by any party’s interpretation or decisions made by any party on the information provided in this communication.