Initially it needs to be stated that the C&E Bill has now passed through the West Australian Parliament and as such is effectively operational. This means that actual compliance with the Bill is now enforceable and prosecutions could commence. So be ready for an increased effort in this area by enforcement agencies.
With all we have discussed so far and recent presentations conducted to industry groups in Perth I see lots of blank looks and bewilderment as to where a business should start on this path to compliance. We have discussed the 10 points and Policy’s and Procedures, but who is going to write them and when written will they be sufficient to gain protection? If Company” A” writes a P&P and Company “B” writes one which one is correct? Which one will suppliers, contractors and customers follow?
The big question is, that as part of the Bill is that all carriers are required to be compliant, including Sub Contractors. How does a company ensure that their subcontractors are compliant? Is each Subbie subject to audit? What if a Subbie works for several primary carriers, will they be audited separately by each one? Technically a Subcontractor may need a multitude of compliance systems for each of their prime contractors. Now lets get a reality check; how many Subcontractor do you know have a single compliance system for any thing, let alone multiple systems with this degree of complexity?
Is this all sounding like something that will cause you to drown in paperwork?
Let’s not just focus on the subcontractor. Suppose your business has several different market sectors that it deals with. Will you need to be audited by all those different sectors? Will you need a compliance team bigger than your operational team?
Consider now how compliance requirements are you expected to respond to with your existing customers let alone the introduction of C&E?
So what can be done to ensure that a company or primary carrier has compliant subcontractors and is compliant with the requirements of customers? The answer is an industry Code of Practice (CoP). This CoP will ensure that common problems and fixes are shared and as such cost and complexity reduced. Imagine, you are working on a difficult compliance issue that you are finding hard to resolve. The CoP is likely to have a solution for that problem that has already been checked as feasible and legal. Tow things happen; firstly the problem fixed quickly and the overall cost is reduced. But here’s the big bonus; if the entirety of your business sector is applying the same legal fix, then that become the industry norm and every business is on level footing.
The Refrigerated Warehouse & Transport Association (RWTA) recently developed and had accredited their Code of Practice. They are now able to apply the code within in the industry sector regardless of size of the business, this means all businesses have a common system and all contractors large or small have a common code to follow. Of course the really big benefit, one system, one audit, one compliance certificate that says “I am compliant to RWTA Code of Practice”. This certificate is can then be used to demonstrate compliance to all those that require certification.
If your business is of sufficient size you can even establish a Code of Practice specifically for your business. These are just as effective internally when a business is diverse and geographically spread. So if you have operations in Perth, Port Headland, Karratha, Newman etc etc, the business CoP will ensure consistency within the business.
Contact WARTA or LATUS about establishing a Code of Practice.
Next month article will cover: auditing and accrediting a business.