The UK has some of the strictest regulations and legislation in the world. With these legal requirements comes the need for businesses and organisations to make sure they are compliant with these regulations. It is their legal duty to do so.
Not complying can result in financial penalties or, in extreme cases, imprisonment. For this reason, it is essential that you are fully aware of your governance, risk and compliance (GRC) responsibilities so that you stay on the right side of the law.
What is Governance Risk and Compliance (GRC)?
Simply put, it means that you and your company need to adhere to the rules and regulations set out by professional organisations and regulatory bodies. These will vary depending on the market sector in which you operate. For example, commercial property owners, landlords, or property managers need to consider the implications of areas such as asbestos, fire, water, disability access, and building condition and maintenance. For each of these areas, there are many government-issued laws that need to be addressed.
However, it isn’t enough to merely follow the latest legislation. You must also document all aspects of your activities to provide proof of your compliance to that legislation.
Let’s take fire safety as an example. Everyone is aware of the importance of fire safety in minimising the risks of fire and, in the event of one, how to evacuate a building and safely deal with the fire quickly.
However, to ensure you are compliant with the latest fire regulations, all modern buildings need to meet strict rules and regulations concerning their construction and materials used. Also, a robust fire safety strategy needs to be put in place that considers all emergency exits’ locations and the presence of fire-fighting equipment. The regulations a property owner must adhere to also requires that fire-fighting equipment be regularly maintained and tested to ensure it is in perfect working order.
Compliance Management in Practice
To effectively manage compliance obligations, all aspects of the fire risk strategy must be documented. Doing so will ensure you stay on the right side of the law and that you ensure the health and safety of those working in or visiting the premises. As mentioned, failure to comply can result in hefty fines or imprisonment.
The practicality of managing your fire risk compliance activities can involve weekly or monthly checks to ensure all fire-fighting equipment is maintained and in proper working order. Fire alarm tests need to be regularly checked; the emergency exit’s clear of obstructions and potential fire risk hotspots identified and made safe in order to remove the potential of a fire occurring. You can get an idea of other fire risk considerations in our fire risk assessment checklist.
For small, single location premises, those responsible can easily document their compliance management using something as simple as an excel spreadsheet or paper-based system. But what happens once you start to scale the size of the business premise or have multiple locations to maintain?
Simply put, unless you have a robust way of documenting and managing your responsibilities as well as an easy to use compliance reporting system, you will quickly find a spreadsheet-based approach will be ineffective and will expose you to the potential risk of missing important problem areas that need to be addressed.
Using Compliance Management Software to Manage Your Risk
At this point, a more effective way to manage your compliance would be through the use of a dedicated compliance management software solution such as ACMS UK’s Vision software.
As long as the key features and tools within the software will allow you to manage your compliance requirements in a way dictated by law, then you will be compliant. Ultimately, this is what you’re aiming for.
Compliance management software should enable you to manage every aspect of the documentation and data recording in one centralised, online place.
The compliance management software should also allow those responsible for the weekly/monthly compliance inspection and reporting to record their findings, no matter where they are located. This real time assessment capability makes this type of solution perfect for multi-location businesses such as retail stores, medical trusts, and education organisations. It means that the person ultimately responsible for the organisation’s overall compliance management can instantly see problem areas and health and safety issues that need addressing.
For example, should a particular fire extinguisher located in one specific location need to be serviced, then those responsible for its maintenance will be alerted to this issue. Being able to see where and when equipment servicing or replacements are required will allow you, as a business, to arrange a more efficient way of dealing with such situations. This approach may also highlight bulk buying opportunities that can result in money-saving decisions being made.
As you can see, the benefits of using a robust compliance management software solution don’t stop there. Because everything is now centralised and managers can record their data in real-time, this will save both time and money, contributing to a more streamlined workflow and operation.
As every sector and every business is different, it is important that your compliance management software solution can be customised to your needs. This will allow you to record all the different types of information you need to document to be compliant. This means that because compliance isn’t just limited to one area such as fire risk. It can also be used to record your other regulatory compliance responsibilities relating to legionella, asbestos, disability access or building condition. This makes it a more versatile and robust solution for compliance management, particularly in big organisations. It is an essential tool when it comes to managing internal management systems, accreditations, audits and to ensure compliance.
Taking Vision for a Test Drive
If you would like to see first hand how compliance management software such as Vision, can benefit your business and help to save you time and money, contact ACMS UK today to arrange a free on-line demo of our software.