Educating staff

An essential part of a compliance programme is the training of staff to ensure that, when dealing with the public, they always bear in mind their responsibilities under the Fair Trading Act.

Providing staff with accurate knowledge relating to the Act is essential if a compliance programme is to be effective.

Check Sheet: Fair Trading Act policy compliance - management questions (.DOC)

This check sheet is a resource to enable in-house checking of the business's overall compliance with the sample Fair Trading Act policy. This check sheet is designed to be used by senior executives and managers with trading/sales responsibilities. The check sheet tests the types of controls management should have put in place as well as recording managers' assumptions about Fair Trading Act compliance practices within the business. Some of the Check Sheet 2 questions are also asked within Check Sheet 3 - by comparing these repeated questions, it allows management to better understand what variance of opinion exists, if any, about the Fair Trading Act compliance practices within the business and what risk that variance may pose.

 

Check Sheet: Fair Trading Act policy compliance - staff questions (.DOC)

This check sheet is designed to be used by staff and line managers with trading/sales responsibilities. It tests the types of controls management should have put in place and it records staff assumptions about Fair Trading Act compliance practices within the business. Some of the Check Sheet 3 questions are also asked within Check Sheet 2. By comparing the responses to these repeated questions it allows management to better understand what variance of opinion exists, if any, about Fair Trading Act compliance practices within the business and what risk that variance may pose.

Steps to educating staff

  1. Management need to make clear to staff that they support a compliance ethic.
  2. Management need to communicate to staff the importance of compliance with the Act.
  3. Everyone involved in the presentation of goods or services to customers should be identified. Numbers will vary enormously. For example, in a large manufacturing company this will involve designers of packaging and promotional material as well as marketing staff. In a retail business all staff should be aware of their obligations. Generally, staff producing product information, together with those who deal with the public, need to be familiar with the Act.
  4. A staff training programme should be developed to ensure that staff know about the Act and how it relates to their particular tasks. There should be a conscious policy to avoid breaches of the Act. This policy should be communicated in writing to all staff. Staff should be provided with a clear summary of the Act, and clear instructions on their responsibility to comply with it.
  5. Once the initial training is completed, ongoing monitoring of the effectiveness of the company's policy should be undertaken, including a commitment to ongoing training. If staff are not following policy, then the effort taken to establish a compliance programme is wasted.

Finally, businesses should keep themselves informed of any new developments in the law and ensure that staff are informed of them.

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