Modern companies bear a very wide range of legal and compliance obligations. Even the best-governed companies with the most sophisticated compliance systems may discover incidents involving possible major contraventions of these obligations.
This Incident Response Map provides high-level guidance on responding to an 'incident', such as possible foreign bribery, serious fraud and other breaches of laws that can have significant financial, reputational and commercial implications, including:
- risks and issues – some of the key legal issues that need to be considered in assessing the risks and planning a response; and
- objectives – objectives for addressing the incident.
An effective response to an incident is important (particularly in the initial stages). It can significantly impact the company's legal and reputational standing and stakeholder relationships. Companies that carefully and proactively investigate and address potential misconduct usually emerge stronger. Conversely, companies that ignore or minimise potential misconduct, or respond reactively, risk creating additional legal exposures, damaging their standing with regulators and weakening their stakeholder relationships.
The architecture of an effective response is illustrated below. The response phase may involve several cycles of assessing risks and issues, planning and executing a response.
Addressing the issues
This is a general guide only and is not a replacement for any specific legal advice. You may also already have policies and procedures that deal with issues such as crisis management, how to conduct an investigation and dealing with regulators, amongst others.