Businesses of all sizes need to be compliant, or else….
But what exactly is compliance? Most people would quote the recent GDPR conundrum or health & safety – and rightly so.
Red Tape Galore?
But compliance – and complying – is much more than that. It is the “art” of conforming to all the rules, regulations, policies or laws that affect any area of the organisation. This helps minimising potential legal issues and ensuring people’s wellbeing and safeguarding. These rules and guidelines may be local, national or (still) European.
For small businesses who do not have the means or the time to employ a dedicated person, being compliant may prove difficult; though there is a common core, these legal requirements vary depending on the organisation’s industry sector, on the type of product or services or even on their various stakeholders (e.g. type of clientele). Common areas englobe data protection, health & safety, diversity, etc.
Head in the Sand
It is tempting to turn a blind eye or procrastinate but not complying may have disastrous consequences for the organisation. Repercussions include fines – as well as a loss of brand image, confidence from clients or suppliers; all in all, non-compliance harms the business reputation as well as the bottom line, as has been seen in the recent public scandals about data protection involving for instance Cambridge Analytica.
Where a compliance officer would tackle and liaise with the relevant regulatory bodies, ensure the company adheres to required standards, policies and best practices, employees of small businesses all need to commit themselves and preserve the company’s legal and ethical integrity and brand image.
The stakes are high and the red tape difficult to navigate for SMEs. In small businesses, everyone needs to become a compliant officer for their area. Yet they are not alone.
Help available in Kent & Medway
The maze of regulations and bodies makes being complaint an administrative headache for SMEs
While the local Chamber of Commerce organise regular information workshops to help organisations update and uphold policies and procedures, the Kent & Medway Growth Hubprovides free information and signposts organisations to the relevant resources, whether trading standards with Better Business for All or business advice regarding professional standards or best practice.