19 Jul 5 Key Areas Of Compliance To Assess In Your Business
As a business owner, you are legally obliged to comply with the guidelines set by the UK’s regulatory bodies; the regulations that apply to you will be determined by the type of business you own and the size of your company.
The purpose of this guidance is mainly to protect employees and customers from unethical corporate activities, but they also serve to regulate UK businesses in order to promote good business practices, while enabling the government to enforce policy.
Several institutions regulate and monitor compliance among UK businesses, and companies who are found to be non-compliant may be subject to fines, have their licence revoked, or even face legal proceedings.
But with legislation changing every year, it is more important than ever for businesses to stay up to date with the changes to compliance policy.
Let’s look at the 5 key areas of compliance you should be aware of in order to protect yourself and your business.
Under UK law, your business must follow the guidelines set by the relevant UK regulatory bodies.
Industry-specific regulations provide guidance for a particular area of work; for example, any business working with food is subject to the regulations of the Food Standards Agency, which legislates on a wide range of topics, including food hygiene and safety.
Some businesses may be subject to regulations from more than one regulator, and as such, these companies must stay informed about the policies of all relevant bodies.
While it may seem that there are many guidelines to keep up with, it’s important to remember that the function of these regulations is to ensure the safety of the general public and your employees, and to encourage efficient management. As such, working within compliance guidelines can help your business to avoid legal pitfalls, achieve better customer and employee relations, and generate better quality results.
Financial compliance refers to the set of guidance that applies to the financial markets. This includes any type of business that trades in financial goods and services, such as bonds, equities, and accountancy services.
These guidelines were put in place to establish standards in the financial industry to better protect the customer and the economic markets, and to prevent financial misconduct.
Additionally, as emerging technologies have changed many of the ways that financial goods and services are traded, the ways that these products are regulated have changed too. For example, in 2020, cryptocurrency asset traders were made liable under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.
As a business, you must therefore keep up to date with the ever-updating guidelines that apply to the financial goods and services you are purchasing and trading.
The UK General Data Protection Regulation is a set of guidance that relates to how UK companies handle the data of the general public and employees. GDPR was established under the European Union in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, and plays an instrumental part in upholding the right to privacy.
These regulations relate to the ways that data is used, processed, and stored, and apply to all countries within the EU and the UK. Under GDPR rules, a minimal amount of data must be collected in a transparent and fair manner, used only for the purpose stated, and kept for a limited period of time.
This data must be kept secure and confidential, and the data controller assumes all liability for proving GDPR compliance. If you wish to share data with a third party, you will need to have a legal basis for processing.
Effective GDPR compliance not only keeps your business on the right side of the law, it also ensures that your customers feel confident trusting your business and recommending you to others.
As an employer, you have a legal obligation to keep staff and members of the public safe on your premises. Part of this involves keeping your business in line with the relevant safety compliance guidelines for your industry.
Safety protocols provide an important framework for developing safe and efficient practices, particularly in high-risk fields such as medicine – this is important as most health and safety violations are due to human error.
Additionally, by making sure you have high health and safety standards in place, your business can support employee health and wellbeing, improve staff retention, prevent injury claims, and reduce financial losses caused by sickness and stress.
Licenses And Permits
A wide range of businesses require a license to operate legally under UK law; trading without a licence is a serious offence and may be subject to criminal proceedings. You may also be required to obtain an additional licence from your professional trade association.
Professions which may require a license or permit include:
- Traders of alcohol or tobacco products
- Gambling services
- Healthcare and some alternative therapies
- Financial services
- Dog breeding
- Pet shops
- Imports and exports
- HGV drivers
- Security guards
- Providers of body modifications, including aesthetic surgeries, tattoos, piercings, and permanent makeup
There are many different types of licence available, and licenses can be long-term or temporary, according to the requirements of the business.
If you require a licence for your business to legally trade, you can apply for one through your local authority, or via the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Too busy to keep up with the complex world of compliance and protect yourself from the risks? Why not let our experts take care of things and give you peace of mind!