Every industry has standards; some are legal standards, set in stone and mandatory. There are also a range of regulatory compliance measures to ensure conformity to policies and procedures, industry standards and laws. Again these essential.
Independent regulators exist to ensure they are upheld. The Care Quality Commission, OFSTED, The Health and Safety Executive and The Information Commissioner’s Office are just a few. It’s important to remember, though, that they exist to help with advice and resources, which can go a long way towards ensuring your business is legally compliant.
For those with the desire to really showcase their brand, its services or products, there are also compliance measures that take customer care and staff welfare to levels above those of the competition. They can demonstrate transparency, ethical practices, philosophy and good principles.
While they might not always be mandatory, we might be foolish to neglect them… compliance is essential for business. It can also serve as one of the best tools for promoting a brand, raising standards and driving productivity.
Compliance has several other, notable benefits:
- Reducing the risk of costly legal issues
- Creating a safer, more efficient workplace (with happier, more motivated teams who stay on board for the long term)
- It can win customer trust in a way that few other things can
- Compliance can be a powerful tool for public relations.
The broad spectrum of compliance
If you are looking at compliance for your business, where on earth do you begin? Well, a lot can depend on your service and your industry. There are, however, several key areas applicable to us all.
Health and safety policies:
If your business has five or more employees, a written Health and Safety policy is mandatory. For less than five, however, it is still a good idea.
Data protection & GDPR:
If you are dealing with data, you have to commit to protecting it per the law; your policy should take your company’s size, activities and existing IT policies into account.
Other industry-specific compliance measures include Safeguarding, Cookies, Kite marks and certain pre-requisites if the organisation is looking to partner with Government agencies or the NHS.
In addition to mandatory compliance, many businesses look to gain an edge over competitors through obtaining other quality standards. The International Standards Organisation offers a wide range of non-compulsory but highly sought after standards.
ISO 9001 is one such standard linked to Quality Management Systems. It is the yardstick for many businesses looking to demonstrate their products and services to meet customer needs and fulfil legal and regulatory requirements.
ISO14001 represents another sought after standard in the business world of today. Focusing on environmental management, it serves as proof of compliance with applicable ecological and environmental regulations. In a world of increasingly aware consumers and potential partners, it can make all the difference.
How can a Virtual Assistant support you?
Regardless of whether you seek to conform to mandatory legal/regulatory compliance or quality standards that can be either mandatory or highly recommended, a VA well trained and experienced in compliance can help.
Compliance is a specialised field, and many companies can find it challenging to collate the information they need and present it in the correct standardised format. A specialist Virtual Assistant can:
- Identify what materials you need for submission and often pinpoint the ones which fulfil multiple criteria.
- Deliver the help and support you need to collate it
- Offer help and advice around the submission process.
- Support to create your policies and procedures
- Ensure your submissions are professional, relevant and on-brand
- Help you to create internal audits and self-assessments
- Highlight key areas for external audits by independent regulatory bodies
Good compliance is good for business. If you’d like help and support in ensuring your business ticks all the boxes and stands proudly above the completion, get in touch today.