Report Strengthened by Public Feedback, Group Says
Arlington, VA., April 25 – Today, the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI) released the final version of its report, Principles & Practices of High-Quality Ethics & Compliance Programs. The report was prepared by a Blue Ribbon Panel of ethics and compliance practitioners, academics, white collar and whistleblower attorneys, as well as former enforcement officials. It is the first of its kind to provide a comprehensive framework for creating E&C programs that are of high quality and go beyond the basic regulatory requirements. A diverse group of ethics and compliance practitioners and other members of the public were invited to offer comments on a draft of the report that was released in November 2015 and their feedback was included in the final report.
The final report provides detail about organizations with ethics and compliance programs that go beyond the minimum standard; demonstrating that high-quality programs (HQPs) have a purpose of “establishing and perpetuating a high standard of integrity that becomes part of the DNA of the organization.” The report discusses five core principles that are shared by these organizations:
- Principle 1: Ethics and compliance is central to business strategy.
- Principle 2: Ethics and compliance risks are identified, owned, managed and mitigated.
- Principle 3: Leaders at all levels across the organization build and sustain a culture of integrity.
- Principle 4: The organization encourages, protects, and values the reporting of concerns and suspected wrongdoing.
- Principle 5: The organization takes action and holds itself accountable when wrongdoing occurs.
While acknowledging that ethics and compliance programs must be tailored for the individual organization and its industry, the Blue Ribbon Panel asserted: “We strongly believe that there are fundamental characteristics essential to high-quality programs that are scalable and apply in any setting, large or small, highly regulated or not.”
“To date, frameworks for E&C programs speak to the minimum standard, largely based on law and regulation,” ECI Chief Executive Officer Patricia J. Harned, Ph.D., said. “With this report, ECI hopes to further the dialogue about what constitutes an effective program effort.”
Harned, who chaired the Panel, also voiced her appreciation to industry peers and members of the public who reviewed and commented on the initial draft. “Fresh insights from a variety of interested parties outside the Panel’s meeting room enabled us to make valuable adjustments that strengthened the final report,” she said.
The expenses for Principles & Practices of High-Quality Ethics & Compliance Programs were funded in part with a grant from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. The final report is available on http://ethics.org/research/hqp-standards/blue-ribbon. “The findings from this study will shape how we at ECI help organizations improve their E&C programs, and we fully expect our member organizations to use the report to assess and adjust their existing ethics and compliance efforts” says Harned.
Principles & Practices of High-Quality Ethics & Compliance Programs was first released in draft form in November of 2015. Members of the public were allotted two months to submit comments. The report released today is the final version that incorporates the feedback received.
About the Ethics & Compliance Initiative
The Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI) empowers its members across the globe to operate their businesses at the highest levels of integrity. ECI provides leading ethics and compliance research and best practices, networking opportunities and certification to its membership, which represents more than 450 organizations across a range of industries worldwide. ECI is comprised of three nonprofit organizations; the Ethics Research Center, the Ethics & Compliance Association and the Ethics & Compliance Certification Institute.