Hi there,

In the penultimate issue of our series on how FM supports the core business, we’re taking a look at compliance – why it’s important, how it supports the core business and how you should approach it.

But first, a bit of housekeeping. I mentioned a few weeks ago that we’re in the process of redesigning our website after the previous one broke (gotta love technology!). I wanted to let you know that we’ll be uploading all previous issues of these e-mails as articles on the site, so if you miss one, or if you joined halfway through our discussion of a certain topic, or if you just want an easy way of referring back without having to dig through your inbox, we’ll have you covered.

It’ll be a few weeks before everything is up and running, but I’ll be sure to let you know once it’s ready.

Anyway, onto today’s topic…

Ensuring Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Aaah, compliance. It strikes fear into the hearts of some. For others, it simply elicits a bored eye-roll 🙄

But to all the eye-rollers, I’ll say this. Compliance is key to any business. Failure to comply with the legislation and regulations can have severe consequences.

Firstly, on a personal level. You can be held personally liable for a breach of legislation. Depending on the severity of the breach, you can lose your job, you can be fined or you can even end up in prison, which can be a bit of an obstacle towards becoming a great facilities manager.

But important as your own personal liability may be, this series is about how FM supports the core business of an organisation, so how can a failure in compliance affect the organisation and derail its mission?

Well, it’s actually fairly similar to the personal consequences. Companies can be penalised and fined for legislative breaches. Senior managers could also suffer personal consequences if they are deemed to have been negligent, including imprisonment.

Any of these penalties could be catastrophic to an organisation if they are large enough. But even if a company is able to swallow the penalties and carry on trading, they are likely to suffer reputational damage which can lead to loss of business and all of the consequences that stem from it.

Compliance can be a bit of a minefield, as there are so many areas of legislation that may come under the remit of the facilities manager. Health and Safety is the most prominent, but we also need to be aware of employment law, environmental regulations, anti-bribery legislation, waste regulations, data protection, contract law and more.

Thankfully there are avenues you can pursue to get help and advice on this. You may have a legal department who can help with certain elements (usually regarding contract law). You will likely have an HR department who can advise on employment legislation. You may even have a dedicated Health and Safety officer or department.

So you are rarely alone, and if you don’t have a relevant department within your organisation, there are plenty of 3rd party companies and consultants who can help. However you need to be aware of the need for ensuring compliance and you need to make sure you have the means and/or the budget to seek help where necessary.

The consequences, both on a personal and organisational level, are too severe not to.

As the Clash reminded us in 1979, if you fight the law, the law will win.

Have a great week

Chris and the Xenon Group team

P.S. If you haven’t already studied or started studying for an IWFM qualification, which will cover topics like this in depth and fully assess your understanding, you may want to have a look at our guide to the IWFM Qualifications which will give you a full breakdown of how they work and what’s involved in the different levels. You can download it here.

P.P.S. If you’re already considering taking a qualification but don’t know which level to go for, a good starting point is our One-Minute-Leveller tool, which will ask you a few questions and give you a recommendation based on the result. You can access it here.