After the internal report comes in and you have properly triaged the matter, you need to scope out and investigate it, promptly, thoroughly and with competent personnel. Your company should have a detailed written procedure for handling any complaint or allegation of bribery or corruption, regardless of the means through which it is communicated. The mechanism could include the internal company hotline, anonymous tips, or a report directly from the business unit involved. You can make the decision on whether or not to investigate with consultation with other groups such as the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors or the Legal Department. The head of the business unit in which the claim arose may also be notified that an allegation has been made and that the Compliance Department will be handling the matter on a go-forward basis. Through the use of such a detailed written procedure, you can work to ensure there is complete transparency on the rights and obligations of all parties, once an allegation is made. This allows the compliance team to have not only the flexibility but also the responsibility to deal with such matters, from which it can best assess and then decide on how to manage the matter.
Three key takeaways:
- A written protocol, created before an investigation, is a key starting point.
- Create specific steps to follow so there will be full transparency and documentation going forward.
- Consistency in approach is critical.