Businesses that comply with competition law will avoid the serious consequences of non-compliance, which may include:
• financial penalties
• agreements being void and unenforceable
• claims for damages
• adverse publicity.
The steps needed to comply will depend on a range of factors including the size and nature of the business and the risk of them committing an infringement.
In some circumstances, a formal compliance programme is likely to be needed. Other businesses may not need to implement a formal compliance programme, but they do need to make sure employees are aware of competition law and the need to comply with it.
There is no standard compliance programme. However, there are four main features that must be included as a minimum for a programme to work effectively. They are:
• the support of senior management
• appropriate policy and procedures
• regular evaluation.
If you are thinking about implementing a compliance programme, you should consider seeking further advice from a legal adviser or compliance specialist. The OFT does not approve individual compliance programmes.
Further information is available in the publication How your business can achieve compliance. The OFT has also produced a CD-ROM called Compliance matters! which explains the importance of compliance.
Back to: Competition Act 1998