U.S. enforcement officials – including the Attorney General himself – have stressed the importance of self-assessments to achieving anti-corruption compliance program efficacy. Such assessments are also an important part of anti-corruption compliance program standards issued by the UK Ministry of Justice and the OECD anti-bribery working group.
For a variety of reasons, such assessments should – where reasonably possible – be conducted by an independent expert in anti-corruption compliance programs. But for some companies, this optimal approach may not be practical.
The report based on the anti-corruption compliance program benchmarking survey that Rebecca Walker and I conducted earlier this year with the FCPA Blog can be helpful to organizations seeking to use only internal resources to assess their compliance efforts. Specifically, companies can:
- Use the report to see what best practices relating to a wide range of anti-corruption compliance measures are.
- For areas where they do not apply a best-practices approach, ask themselves: Given the nature of my organization’s anti-corruption risks, can I persuasively explain/defend the approach that we do have.
- For areas where the answer to this question is “Yes,” document the basis for the finding.
- For areas where the answer to this question is “No,” develop and document appropriate improvement plans.
- Report on the initial process/results to senior management and the board of directors (or appropriate committee thereof), and periodically report back on a) progress in implementing improvement plans, and b) any changes to the company’s risk profile that should impact the initial findings.
For more information about the Anti-Corruption Compliance Program Benchmarking report, please click here.
Jeffrey M. Kaplan, a partner in the Princeton, New Jersey office of Kaplan & Walker LLP, has practiced in the compliance law field since the early 1990’s. He serves as Adjunct Professor of Business Ethics at NYU’s Stern School of Business. He can be contacted here.