Compliance Officers Look To Covid-19 Dividend

06 May 2020 | 08.56 am

Compliance Officers Look To Covid-19 Dividend

Specialist staff will be needed to police regulations

06 May 2020 | 08.56 am

Every cloud has a silver lining, and the Association of Compliance Officers Ireland sees one emerging as the coronavirus lockdown is gradually lifted.

The association says that as workers and businesses begin to contemplate what the working landscape will look like as the country tentatively emerges from lockdown, the issue of compliance and how to deal with social distancing and other Covid-related protocols, will be top of mind for managers and business owners in every industry.

The professional body, which has over 3,000 members, believes that ‘Covid Compliance Officers’ may need to become commonplace – if only temporarily – to ensure that businesses comply with any instructions, rules or guidelines issued by the government, which might then allow them to recommence trading.

Chief executive Michael Kavanagh (pictured) explained: “While there have been rumblings that we may be edging closer to opening the country up for business again, it is widely accepted that rather than preparing for ‘life after Covid’ we will have to set ourselves up for ‘life amidst Covid’ until such time as a treatment is found. 

“This means businesses will have to adapt and change according to what the relevant authorities advise. Organisations will have to adhere to strict rules to ensure we hold our ground in the fight against the spread of the disease. In order to do this, employees and management will need to know exactly what they have to do. Invariably, one person, or even a team of people, depending on the size of the organisation, should be tasked with ensuring compliance.”

The organisation advises that a dedicated Covid Compliance Officer could be an existing compliance officer, or another senior employee or member of management within the company.

Kavanagh added: “Appointing someone to the role of Covid compliance regulator will mean that the HSE and gardai will have a go-to person to interact with in terms of putting the necessary processes and procedures in place. There appears to be a growing consensus that people will return to work on a phased basis based on national Covid-19 management targets being met, with those working outdoors possibly being the first to return. 

“In each workplace, someone will have to assess how employees and customers can adhere to new rules, such as maintaining a two-metre distance from colleagues and customers,  and minimising the level of face-to-face interaction. This will need to happen, preferably, before businesses reopen and employees return to work,” Kavanagh added.

The Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland, a company limited by guarantee with no shareholders, had income of €1,185,000 in the year to July 2019 and booked a surplus of €410,000. At financial year-end ACOI was sitting on a cash pile of €1,530,000 and had a net worth of €1.4 million.

Revenue is sourced from member subscriptions (€590,000), courses and registrations (€450,000) and events (€140,000).

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