Gaining compliance with the rules issued by regulatory agencies matters in many industries. Frequently, these provisions relate to vital health, safety and environmental measures designed to benefit the quality of life for everyone. Some steps that may prove useful in accomplishing this goal involve enacting legislative changes. Consider some of these useful ways to boost regulatory compliance:
Offer Economic Incentives
Rewarding companies that comply with regulations remains a time-honored way to increase rates of compliance. For instance, in the past some humane societies interested in achieving a reduced pet population gave a financial discount to pet owners who agreed to spay or neuter their pets before adopting them; today many of these organizations won’t permit cat or dog adoptions by the public without mandating sterilization procedures first.
Impose Penalties For Noncompliance
By making firms that violate regulatory rules pay penalties, many administrative agencies boost compliance rates. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) will inspect and heavily fine companies that maintain unsafe conditions resulting in industrial accidents.
Conduct Spot Inspections
Increasing the level of surprise inspections remains a very effective way to prompt some businesses to comply with regulations. For instance, in some municipalities around the United States, health department inspection teams sometimes show up unannounced at restaurants and inspect for health code compliance. Firms that pass these spot checks without difficulty have typically invested effort in training and supervising employees in correct food handling techniques.
Publicize Compliance And Non-Compliance
Enterprises that deal with the general public, such as restaurants, may feel stronger pressure to comply with regulations when government regulators publicize the inspection records relating to the company. For instance, customers typically prefer to patronize firms that endeavor to comply with health and safety regulations. A compliant record on these issues may give a firm “bragging rights” and become a source of pride for the business and its employees. By contrast, the publication of repeated noncompliance may motivate some businesses to increase their self-policing efforts.
Conduct Intensive Peer-Review Efforts
Many professional societies during the 1980s initiated “peer review” programs to assist members in adhering more effectively with best practices in the industry. From bar associations to CPA professional societies to medical organizations, this effort sometimes yields higher levels of compliance with applicable ethical rules and regulations. Businesses that voluntary subject themselves to peer review have made a decision to seek constructive self-improvement in a very tangible way.
Achieving Long Term Compliance
Regulators can use all these tools, and more, to encourage companies to maintain better adherence to regulatory rules. Increasing compliance rates ultimately benefits the public interest.