Being truthful is one of the concepts required by retailers and other organisations who have obligations under Australian Consumer Law.  Being truthful goes alongside ‘a fair go’ for customers as well as honesty and integrity.

Australian Consumer Law prohibits the use of false and misleading statements.  There have been recent reports on a Federal Court hearing involving one of the leading retailers in Australia accused of misleading consumers in relation to the ‘freshness’ of some of their bread products with an indication that a large financial penalty is in the offing; more information (follow the link) is available on the media release on the ACCC website and also the perceived impact of the breach in terms of competitive disadvantage.

Does your organisation implement checks and balances to protect itself from compliance breaches?  Contact us for an initial chat to find out how our health check can assist your business – telephone 1300 602 880 or via our website at www.complianceeessentials.com.au

Does your organisation have a social media policy that is rolled out to all employees, including those who do not have access to company computer equipment?  If not, act sooner rather than later and set the culture for your organisation as well as the employer’s stance on anti-bullying and anti-harassment requirements across all employees.  Unacceptable social media messages from one employee to another or public messages that can be construed, amongst other allegations, as defamatory, rumour mongering, vilification, may leave an organisation exposed to culpability even where the social media posts were made off the premises from a personal device.  There has recently been a successful action in Australia (believed to be the first) whereby Christine Mickle, a music teacher, successfully brought an action as a result of comments posted on Twitter that were construed as defamatory; Christine Mickle was awarded a total of $105,000 damages.

How can Compliance Essentials assist with your organisation’s suite of policies and procedures?  Please contact us for an initial discussion on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au

A recent case of a workplace death serves to demonstrate that high risk matters and the observance of compliance are not something to be put on the list of things to do tomorrow.

Melbourne Water has been handed down a high financial penalty (DPP v Melbourne Water Corporation, 2014)  in respect of the death of a worker (2011) at the Eastern Treatment Plant.  The employee drowned in a sewerage channel, presumed to have fallen through a dislodged grate. The company are reported to have been aware that the grates caused a potential hazard and in his summing up of the case the Judge noted that there had been previous reports concerning the grates which had gone unheeded.

Not diminishing the tragedy of death, but neither did the company pay attention to its obligations to act in accordance with health and safety legislation.  Our message is that it is never too soon to monitor risk and take corrective action at the same time taking into account compliance obligations.

Do you have a concern about risk exposure in any area of your organisation?  Contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com au to to arrange an initial discussion.

 

The systems that a business has in place could well reflect the way things have been done over time; the chance is that the systems have grown with the business and may be a bundle of information sources that, objectively, are disjointed and potentially not providing maximum efficiency.  Do your business systems provide satisfactory management reporting tools, do they assist in identifying and measuring areas of risk?

Legacy systems may be ‘comfortable’ albeit sometimes frustrating and maybe time consuming when it comes to pulling together all the information that is regularly required for Board and management purposes.  And, of course, there is the cost of change and the implementation of change to consider.  Replacing a bundle of disjointed systems with one controlled electronic solution not only has the potential to make better use of human resources it is also a way to implement specific controls, get good information to the right desk at the right time and overall improve business performance (not forgetting the bottom line) at the same time Simplifying GRC.

If your business could benefit from a more in depth view of simplifying GRC management please contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website.

By taking the effort to identify and manage risk an organisation is adding depth to its management techniques.  The founder of a new business takes the initial risk that they have created a sound proposition that will yield the required outcomes.  The owners of a mature business, irrespective of size, need to be aware of threats to the business and determine a way to manage identified risk exposure.

Risk management is not just about keeping workers and visitors safe from harm, although that is an essential part of the risk management framework, it is also about identifying internal and external threats to a business, implementing necessary controls, anticipating future events that may impact on a business.  In anticipating risk from future events positive risks may also be identified; good risk management will see the way that these positive risks could bring potential to the business.

Are you aware of the areas of risk exposure in your organisation?  Contact us for an initial chat www.complianceessentials.com.au

In a recent claim for unfair dismissal brought before the Fair Work Commission the case was found in the employer’s (Linfox) who it seems had clearly set out behavioural expectations in their organisational policies and procedures.

The matter hinged on the employee having a mobile phone switched on during working hours contrary to company policy.  This contravention was one of a collection of non-compliance issues attaching to the employee’s stance on company directives including the refusal to sign a document in relation to social media.

Does your organisation have robust policies and procedures in place?  Compliance Essentials can assist and with other compliance matters for your organisation.  Contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au

 

Is your organisation ready for 1 January 2014 and the implementation of the Fair Work Act 2009 (anti-bullying legislation)? Workplace bullying is heinous and injurious to health and wellbeing; this legislative amendment relating to anti-bullying measures will apply to employers and employees Australia-wide in less than two month’s time.

For all employers it is recommended that internal procedures are put in place to demonstrate and engage the organisational stance against workplace bullying including other behaviours such as use of social media (a potential route for bullying and vilification).  There is still time to put in place robust policies and procedures with the aim of maintaining a workplace free from bullying as well as setting direction on the organisational position for internal and external use of social media by employees.  It is also important to keep staff and contractors (who are covered by the legislation) up to date with in house briefings and training on ways to prevent and, in worst case scenario, internally report alleged bullying incidents.  Note, as of January 2014 an employee who alleges that they are the victim of workplace bullying will have the right to address the matter directly with the Fair Work Commission, bypassing internal grievance procedures.

Compliance Essentials can assist your organisation with all compliance matters; contact us on 1300 602 880 or via our website www.complianceessentials.com.au


Looking for an electronic solution to manage and monitor your GRC functions? Compliance Essentials is a channel partner of 1FiCS  – www.1fics.com

There are some organisational owners and managers who run shy from the word ‘compliance’ – the interpretation is often policing or threats.  In fact implementing legal and regulatory compliance is an important part of developing and growing a business.

Compliance goes hand in hand with risk management (and governance hence GRC); these are good practice and part of the management tool kit to be used in business strategy, business growth, as a way of increased business efficiencies.  Aiming for a compliant culture can afford protection from regulatory intervention, is a way of reducing general insurance premiums (ask your insurance broker) and an aid to protecting your organisation’s reputation.

In summary, its all about the bottom line!

How can Compliance Essentials assist your organisation?  Please contact us for an initial chat on 1300 602 880 or get in touch via our website at www.complianceessentials.com.au

 

Changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 in relation to keeping workplaces free from bullying are effective from 1 January 2014.

What are the implications for employers?  The provisions of the amended legislation will allow a worker who suffers bullying in the workplace to take the matter directly to the Fair Work Commission bypassing their employer; the definition of ‘worker’ extends to ‘contractors’.  If the worker is successful in their action the Fair Work Commission has the power to make any orders it deems appropriate to prevent the worker from being bullied in the workplace – this is other than reinstatement, payment of compensation or other monetary penalties.

Employers have time, prior to the commencement of these provisions, to review policies and procedures, setting out expected standards of behaviour in the workplace, ensuring robust procedures for dealing with bullying claims as well as engaging in staff training across their organisation.  Policies and procedures need to include a firm line on use of social media which is also a potential avenue for bullying and vilification between members of the workforce.

Compliance Essentials is available to assist employers to prepare and be ready for this legislative change; contact us on 1300 602 880 or via www.complianceessentials.com.au.

 

 

The questions of ‘Wrap Rage’?

I certainly suffer from it, how do you fare trying to open some of the more difficult packaging items that we acquire in daily shopping?  Have a look at the following You Tube video clip ‘Larry David vs Bad Packaging’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HubZInAs0-A

That snippet made me laugh but unhappily the underlying sentiment is certainly familiar, that intense frustration at not only being unable to open a pack with your fingers but failing continually with various sharp instruments. Until recently I thought I was unusual in being more than inadequate in a losing battle with clamshell packaging and blister packs, now I realise that an uncountable number of the world’s population suffer from the same problem and the attendant frustration, and sometime personal injury!

Readers Digest  have conducted a survey amongst consumers, not only in relation to clamshells and blister packs but also other forms of ‘un-openable’ items; the types of consequential injury that the survey reports are not surprising but nonetheless should never happen.

Time was when someone occasionally stabbed themselves in the hand with an old-fashioned tin opener, it could happen.  Perhaps someone can explain then why now, in the 21st century, in this age of high technology, instant communication and whiz-bang gizmos, we not only have to pay for unmanageable packaging as part of product costs but at the same time risk injury to our hands, teeth and general wellbeing to access the purchased product.

The packaging issue is a serious enough matter for able-bodied people, but what consideration are the packaging moguls giving to those less able.  Spend a moment to consider those amongst the general population who maintain their pride by looking after themselves and who would experience a range of difficulties – from ‘hard’ to ‘impossible’ – in forcing an entry into clamshell packaging, blister packs or sometimes even a ‘child proof’ jar or container.  A disability that weakens strength, dexterity, coordination; vision impairment; a debilitating illness such as arthritis; mental disability, the list can go on, sections of the community that have to ask for help to do something as simple as opening a consumer pack.

A product offered for sale is, by law, required to be ‘fit for purpose’.  Some of the purposes of these impossible packaging items may be to render an item ‘tamper proof’ or to pose a deterrent to in-store pilfering, however having paid good money for any item, big or small, I would expect to be able to remove the packaging (easily and without risk of personal injury) and when I can’t no tick for ‘fit for purpose’ from me!
Please share your bad packaging experiences www.complianceessentials.com.au/contact-us