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Competition compliance

Competition authorities across the globe are becoming increasingly powerful. Most authorities can impose substantial fines for competition law breaches. Such fines continue to grow and investigations are costly and disruptive.

Putting in place a competition compliance programme to help avoid a breach is less demanding and cheaper than dealing with a dawn raid or investigation.

According to the competition authorities, the core of an effective compliance culture is having an unambiguous commitment to competition law compliance from the top down. Establishing a policy for compliance at board level is key. You then need to conduct an audit so the business knows where the risks are. Once you have done this, you can train your workforce, check they understand the rules and periodically evaluate whether the programme is working.

Active and well managed compliance programmes can be hugely beneficial in terms of knowledge sharing, risk assessment and as an outward demonstration of management commitment to the issues. Above all, they help to establish what the competition authorities want to see within businesses: "a culture of compliance". Competition compliance needs to be part of a company's overall ethical business agenda.

We are compliance experts:

  • Eversheds Sutherland's training skills are recognised as market leading, and the competition arena is no exception. We pride ourselves on making a complex area of law simple. Our approach is commercial and practical. We use interactive case studies and real life scenarios to bring the legal issues to life.
  • our experience in trading issues comes to the fore in auditing your business, identifying the risks and helping you decide how to tackle them.
  • we tailor compliance programmes to clients and their needs and concerns. This can range from written guidelines and face-to-face training programmes, to video and award-winning online training. We offer mock dawn raids and even provide interview skills coaching.
  • our aim is to ensure that employees understand how competition law applies to what they do every day at work. This means that our programmes are written in the language of your business people and provide clear and unambiguous guidance on what they can and cannot do.
  • we can also provide training for in-house legal teams that covers every aspect of the technical application of the law. We can also support the legal team with practical tools for dealing with everyday competition law issues that arise in the business.

We have developed a number of products to help you create a culture of compliance:

  • our tool, 'Cartels: a compliance tool for directors'  is a bite-sized, hard-hitting film following the real life story of a director, imprisoned for his role in a cartel. It is designed to highlight to senior management the personal risks they face and why they should take compliance seriously.
  • our innovative and award-winning Competition Law Online Toolkit provides an interactive and visual-based learning experience. It uses learning techniques developed with educational psychologists and is ideal for training a large workforce of all levels. Our toolkit is now used in 37 different countries and in 29 languages.
  • our ethics@work online course like the Competition Law Online Toolkit, is an interactive and user-friendly training module designed to educate employees at all levels of your organisation on the importance of doing their jobs in a responsible and ethical manner.
  • managing the risks of competitor intelligence: a simple flow diagram to guide you through the complexities of dealing with the exchange of commercially sensitive information.

Experience

Competition compliance for Volkswagen: a case study

Eversheds Sutherland has worked closely with VW to meet its competition compliance needs over a number of years. VW has rolled out the Competition Online Toolkit to employees across the company. To supplement this, Eversheds Sutherland, alongside the VW legal team, periodically delivers face-to-face training sessions targeted at small groups of more senior employees, particularly on the rules relevant to the motor vehicle sector and those individuals' every day roles. Eversheds Sutherland also supports the VW legal team, providing them with practical guidance in relation to the competition issues the business faces, flowing from its day to day business activities.

 

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