Managing regulation

As society moves forward, electronic devices become smaller and more capable. Regulators become increasingly interested in the maintenance of monitoring almost anything they can, combined with the fact that almost anyone can be the policeman; business will need to prepare for a whole new environment.

I remember years ago when Dr Geoffrey Edelstein was challenged by the health authorities on over servicing, he was able to produce copious computer printouts that proved all referrals remained within national norms.  It always struck me as to why you would do this unless of course you wanted to make sure that the figure always was.  After all, if a patient really needed something then they would just get it surely!  But I digress.

Like all activities that form part of operations, a business must allocate funds to manage those activities and that includes monitoring regulation.  Now moving forward, everyone that a business deals with can potentially easily obtain, record and publish information or data that can expose a business to financial loss.

“Like all activities that form part of operations, a business must allocate funds to manage those activities and that includes monitoring regulation.”

Certainly one of the most important aspects is to properly train staff and surround them with systems and procedures that ensure compliance. It is also good to embellish this further with a culture of honest operation.  However moving forward, businesses must increasingly think of aspects of their operations that must be better controlled.  Having no-go areas, banning the carriage of data recording devices in certain areas, and installing equipment to detect use, may well become the norm.

Recently the coach of the English football team resigned after only 67 days in the job as a result of sting footage set up and conducted by one of the British tabloids.  Simply the man was an idiot for making the statements he made and for agreeing with doing what he suggested he could do.  It did demonstrate that he was inappropriate for the role that he was in.  However it provides salutary guidance to business on how the future can be played.  In this instance it was one man in one role, imagine it was one of your employees!

If we ever get to a point where regulators offer rewards to individuals for ‘dobbing in’ an offending or erring business then the whole landscape could further change.  It appears that one aspect that we seem to lose sight of these days is that we are all human and as such we are prone to err, what is best is that there is a system where a mistake can be made, detected and rectified before it counts and before ‘the guilty bastard is hung’.

By way of example with the recent incident at Bankstown hospital the fact that someone connected something incorrectly was human error, but given the potential for damage of the error, the absence of a routine independent check of the install prior to use represents negligence.  These are the processes that save both lives and reputation as they work to protect the business.

Going forward, the cost of monitoring regulation will increase.  Automating all of the processes is potentially dangerous as it can lead to a blasé attitude that it doesn’t matter because the system will pick it up.

Business must regularly monitor its particular risks and make the hard decisions to manage them.  Hand in hand, management must also ensure that there are appropriate funds available to properly manage compliance.

It will be interesting to see society move forward, because as George Orwell once said “Big Brother is watching YOU.”