Implementing a compliance program

Businesses can run a compliance program as a voluntary exercise or as part of a legal undertaking. Ideally, a compliance program should be tailored to meet the needs of the business because each organisation’s circumstances are different.

What is a compliance program?

A compliance program is an internal system or process employed by a business that is designed to:

  • identify and reduce the risk of breaching the Competition and Consumer Act (CCA)
  • remedy any breach that may occur
  • create a culture of compliance within the organisation.

Depending on the size and risk profile of the company, different components will need to be included in a compliance program to ensure that it is effective in achieving compliance with the CCA at all levels of business operations.

Compliance programs are also used as part of the ACCC’s enforcement activities. Section 87B of the CCA gives the ACCC the ability to accept formal written undertakings in the exercise of its powers under the Act. If a term of a s.87B undertaking is breached, the Federal Court may make enforcement and compensation orders. As part of these undertakings, the ACCC will often require the company to implement a compliance program designed to prevent breaches of the Act occurring in the future.

Compliance program templates

To assist organisations that do not have the resources to develop a tailored compliance program, the ACCC has produced a series of templates that businesses can use to develop their own programs. These templates serve two purposes:

  • to provide an example of what the ACCC is likely to accept by way of compliance programs included in an administrative resolution to an Enforcement action
  • to provide an indication of what the ACCC considers advisable in compliance programs implemented by companies voluntarily.

There are 4 different templates, each reflecting what the ACCC considers appropriate given the size of the company offering the undertaking – Level 1 being for micro-businesses and Level 4 being designed for large corporate entities.

More information

Contact the ACCC
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