Consistent polls are showing that the Labour Party will be in for a 1997-style landslide come the next British general election, expected sometime in 2024. In the run up to the election, the Labour Party have been setting out their agenda for government. In this blog, we examine the likely regulatory priorities for government, and what this could mean for compliance.

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Last week saw the third in VinciWorks’ successful series of AML core group meetings and the first of 2024. These meetings are an opportunity for AML professionals in the world’s leading law firms to come together to share ideas and best practice hosted and facilitated by the VinciWorks and Compliance Office team.

Impact of ECCTA

VinciWorks’ Business Development Director Tom Evans gave a recap of the Economic Crime & Corporate Transparency Act (ECCTA) and its impact on KYC processes for firms. ECCTA has brought the biggest ever changes to Companies House since its inception, giving it new powers to act as an active gatekeeper to check and reject company registration details. ECCTA also introduces reforms to how LLPs are managed. LLPs must now have a UK-registered office. Many of the core group members have set up working groups on ECCTA.

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Our latest survey has exposed a stark reality: 44% of compliance officers and managers feel unprepared for the compliance challenges that lie ahead in 2024. Only 7% feel fully confident in tackling the challenges in the year ahead, signalling a potential industry-wide gap in readiness to address the ever-changing regulatory landscape. 

The survey gathered 212 responses from industry leaders across the UK, USA, Spain and Germany, and gauged professionals’ confidence levels and preparedness in managing compliance issues. The findings underscore a critical need for robust compliance training programs as organisations navigate an increasingly complex regulatory environment. 

Beyond the headline unpreparedness, the survey explored various dimensions of compliance readiness:

1. Fraud Prevention Training

While 27% have implemented failure to prevent fraud training and an additional 27% are planning to do so, a concerning 46% revealed they have not yet rolled out failure to prevent fraud training, are undecided or have no plans to in the near future. This lack of preparation and preventive measures leaves businesses at an increased risk of fraudulent activities.

The new “failure to prevent fraud” offence comes into the UK as part of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act, which marks a significant shift in how businesses will be held accountable to combat corporate fraud and protect victims. Failure to provide adequate training can leave organisations susceptible to financial losses and reputational damage.

2. CSRD Compliance Preparedness

Only 2% of compliance professionals claimed to be fully prepared for Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) compliance despite 50,000 companies worldwide being expected to be impacted by it. In comparison, almost half (47%) expressed uncertainty or deemed CSRD irrelevant to their operations.

As 2024 sees the first published reports from many large companies on their CSRD compliance, the global implications will ripple through supply chains, demanding a proactive approach.

3. Neurodiversity Training

In an era witnessing a quadrupling of neurodiversity discrimination cases from 2018-2022, compared to the number of cases from 2003-2017, organisations risk legal repercussions and employee well-being concerns without proactive measures for the fair treatment of neurodivergent employees to create a work environment that values and respects differences. 

Despite these figures, only 8% of businesses polled incorporate neurodiversity training into their yearly programs, and a notable 28% have no plans to do so, potentially hindering the creation of an inclusive work environment and causing an escalation of neurodiversity discrimination cases.

4. Gifts and Hospitality Registers

With 2023 witnessing a nearly quarter-billion pound fine against mining giant Glencore for flying suitcases stuffed with cash to local public officials, getting a handle on gifts and hospitality is crucial for businesses to get right in 2024. Worryingly, when questioned on the types of gift registers in place, 43% of compliance professionals admitted relying on outdated spreadsheets, while 18% admitted to not using any tools for this purpose at all, despite a legal requirement to implement procedures to prevent bribery.

Given the prevalence of digital solutions, the reliance on manual tools poses a risk to accurate and comprehensive compliance tracking. Organisations should consider investing in modern systems and technologies for more efficient and accurate compliance management.

5. Internal Policies on the Role of AI

Finally, the survey explored internal policies on the role of AI. While 23% have established policies, 37% have not considered AI policies in the workplace.

As AI integration becomes more commonplace, organisations must proactively develop and update policies to ensure responsible and ethical use. Neglecting this aspect may expose organisations to legal and moral concerns.

“As the compliance landscape undergoes rapid evolution with various regulations coming into force, this survey reveals a glaring gap in preparedness among compliance professionals,” said Nick Henderson-Mayo, Director of Learning and Content at VinciWorks. “The findings emphasise the critical need for proactive compliance procedures and new initiatives, including training. There are solutions out there for busy compliance professionals, including new technologies and automation. Being prepared is half the battle, and businesses can buffet against global headwinds by investing in proactive compliance and risk mitigation.”

To support compliance professionals in understanding the compliance challenges that lie ahead, VinciWorks is offering a free guide on Compliance Trends 2024.

In a recent study carried out by VinciWorks, a global compliance eLearning provider, 212 compliance professionals were surveyed on Compliance Trends 2024.

The annual list is a must-read for global businesses

The anti-corruption NGO Transparency International has released their annual report into perceptions of corruption and bribery across the world. This list forms a critical part of any organisation’s bribery and corruption risk assessment. Countries within the supply chain or which are significant markets or resources should be assessed for their bribery and corruption risks, with the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) forming a key source for bribery mitigation measures.

If a country which forms a critical part of the supply chain, base of operation, or otherwise plays a significant role in a business, a lower score on the Corruption Index should be incorporated into a bribery risk assessment, and would necessitate further anti-bribery risk mitigation measures.

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This new EU initiative, designed to promote sustainability in the EU and globally, will impact companies in the EU and beyond. Here’s how you can get ready for it

The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) is a new piece of legislation that will have far-reaching implications for EU companies and all companies doing business in the EU. It wants to ensure that companies operate sustainably and responsibly. The reporting requirements will be stringent and are designed to get companies to protect the environment, maintain social justice and promote a stronger, sustainable economy.

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As more Hamas leaders come under international sanction, their relationship with international aid agencies and charities has come under scrutiny. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a UN agency that is meant to provide essential services to Palestinians who fled or were displaced during the 1948 War of Independence. With a staff of over 30,000, primarily Palestinians, UNRWA operates in Gaza as well as Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank, with a mandate to provide medical care, education, and other social services to vulnerable families and individuals.

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How two recent news stories portray companies’ complicated relationship with AI’s evolving technology

It’s hard to predict what lies in artificial intelligence’s (AI’s) regulatory future for the simple reason that AI’s technology is constantly evolving. This means its issues, of bias or copyright or lack of transparency, to name a few will continue to shape the regulatory agenda for many years to come. 

Two news stories highlight the complex relationship companies have with AI and the often circuitous path they will have to take to achieve some sort of control over this nearly unmanageable technology.

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Navigating the Ethics, Risks and Opportunities

Today, we are meeting the challenges of the AI revolution head-on with the launch of our new AI Compliance eLearning collection

Amid the wave of AI transformation, businesses grapple with understanding both the potential advantages and risks it presents. A recent poll by VinciWorks revealed that 63% of respondents do not currently have internal AI policies implemented within their organisations. With the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasting AI’s impact on nearly 40% of global jobs—either replacing or complementing them—there is a pressing need for companies to adapt proactively to the evolving AI landscape.

Designed to empower professionals across industries with essential insights into AI, the latest collection is a key addition to the Information Security and Data Protection suite, comprising seven comprehensive courses. As AI continues to reshape the way we work, this collection offers a thorough overview, beginning with foundational principles and clarifying the core aspects of AI. The courses delve into best practices for workplace AI usage, ethical challenges, and associated risks. The new courses include:

Understanding AI – Opportunities and Risks

This course addresses the surge in AI’s disruptive impact on the business world, providing insights into opportunities and clarifying misconceptions. It explores optimal uses of AI tools for office productivity and examines the legal and moral challenges and the risks associated with AI on a global scale.

AI and Data Privacy

This course focuses on businesses’ challenges in reconciling technological innovation with preserving personal privacy rights. It objectively explores fundamental concepts related to data privacy laws and AI technologies, offering insights into effectively managing associated complexities.

AI and Intellectual Property

This course covers fundamental AI concepts and legal considerations for intellectual property rights, challenging users to navigate grey areas in IP ownership. It addresses legal and ethical dilemmas surrounding AI-generated works and guides organisations to mitigate intellectual property compliance risks.

AI and Discrimination

This course tackles the rising dependence on AI models for crucial decisions affecting various aspects of life. It examines the potential consequences of poorly designed AI models, uncovering inherent biases that may result in unfair treatment. It focuses on recognising biases and discusses strategies for rectification, ensuring accuracy and fairness.

AI and Conducting an Effective Risk Assessment

This course addresses the rapid disruption caused by AI and emerging technologies, emphasising the critical need for companies to adapt swiftly. It focuses on AI-related risks, guiding users in crafting thorough risk assessments and exploring ways to leverage AI tools for enhanced risk-control strategies.

AI and Cybersecurity

This course guides users through the changing landscape of AI and cybersecurity, providing a vision for what to expect as attacks get more complex and how to stay a step ahead. This video-based course provides insights from subject matter expert Richard Merrygold, Director and Infosec Lead Consultant at iStorm, on understanding and navigating this environment. 

Plagiarism in the Age of AI

In academia, plagiarism concerns grow with AI usage. This course delves into higher education foundations, stressing the severe consequences of plagiarism. It explores how AI exacerbates this issue, navigating potential risks students face when resorting to copied content.

The new AI eLearning collection is available in various learning formats, including case studies, videos, and full and short courses, targeting a global audience. The VinciWorks in-browser editing tool enables HR and learning and development teams to tailor courses in real-time, with visible edits and easy sharing capabilities via a unique link.

Nick Henderson-Mayo, Director of Learning and Content at VinciWorks, commented, “Embracing the transformative power of AI in the workplace demands not only awareness but proactive education. Our AI Compliance eLearning Collection is not just about understanding the intricacies of artificial intelligence; it’s a navigational guide through the ethical considerations, potential risks, and untapped opportunities. In a landscape where adaptability is paramount, this new collection of AI compliance training courses empowers professionals to harness the full potential of AI responsibly.”

To support compliance professionals’ comprehension of AI, VinciWorks is offering a complimentary AI and Compliance guide. For more information on VinciWorks’ AI training collection, click here

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 makes a number of important changes to corporate transparency and compliance in the UK.

It is going to be easier to prosecute companies for wrongdoing 

Prosecutors will no longer have to prove that “the directing mind and will” of a company was behind wrongdoing. Now, any “senior manager” who has engaged in criminality around fraud, tax evasion, sanctions breaches, money laundering, false accounting and bribery can find their actions result in corporate prosecution.

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From supplier onboarding missteps to ineffective ongoing monitoring to a lack of due diligence, the list of compliance errors in this story is very, very long

The Post Office scandal is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the UK’s largest miscarriages of justice. For nearly 15 years, the UK Post Office went after operators of sub-post offices across the country, accusing them of committing theft, fraud and false accounting. Many of these sub-postmasters – over 700 were wrongfully prosecuted – were imprisoned, lost their livelihoods or faced bankruptcy. There are four suicides attributed to this scandal.

How did it go so wrong? The Post Office relied on its supplier, Fujitsu, and its Horizon IT system for which the Post Office had contracted to digitise social benefits payments. 

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