Compliance Audit & Management Blog

The Challenges Facing Peak Bodies And Industry Associations — And How To Solve Them

Posted by Paul Molenaar | 18-Aug-2016 07:00:00


Peak bodies and industry associations are facing ever-changing and demanding compliance responsibilities. New laws, codes and regulations are making the compliance landscape ever more complex. Jurisdictions and mandatory inspection schedules are also increasing, adding pressure on already limited compliance resources. 

As a peak body representing the diverse interests of your members, one of your greatest challenges is managing the complexity involved in end-to-end compliance.

The Changing Landscape

New laws, codes and regulations place additional responsibilities on peak bodies and industry associations who are struggling to manage the increasing complexity of compliance and the increasing volume of regulation inspections.


Compliance outcomes are under greater scrutiny than ever, with governments, regulators, consumers and the general public expecting high levels of compliance across all industries. Incidents, failures and non-compliance are widely visible to a large audience.


In Australia, business regulations are designed to ensure fair competition, sufficient protection for the relevant parties, and integrity in the market. Regulations include:

  • Australian Intellectual Property laws
  • Australian business and environment laws
  • Australian export and import laws
  • Financial reporting 

Peak Bodies have it in their power to obtain expert advice on which regulations apply to members, and are in the best position to advise members how to implement them. This is a significant task, but it is a major opportunity to add value and grow membership. 


Peak bodies and professional organisations typically comprise individual businesses of every conceivable shape and size – from home offices to multinational corporations. The task of setting up a compliance system that will apply at all levels can seem daunting, but it is achievable with the right guiding principles.


With new laws, greater responsibilities and wider jurisdictions, the resources required to deliver end-to-end compliance are stretched. Having the physical resources is not the only obstacle: the specialist skills needed to deliver the desired outcomes or goals may not always be available. Compliance Experts offers a range of solutions to help manage this. 


Self-Regulation essentials such as developing the Code of Practice, organising and delivering audits, training and assisting members, and developing responsive web technology can stretch already tight budgets. But cost-effective solutions are available that can be scaled to suit the specific needs of each organisation. Compliance Experts uses proven methodology and trusted software solutions that help clients identify all decision points and costs associated with Self-Regulation. 

The Solution? An effective self-regulation model

Self-Regulation as it applies to professional and industry associations, is the process whereby

the group as a whole agrees to:

  • Comply with a common set of standards as a condition of membership
  • Undergo periodic examination to determine the state of compliance
  • Uphold the values of the principles and standards, and be subject to sanctions in the event of non-compliance


Critical Success Factors

Understanding the rules

The ‘Rules’ comprise the underlying set of regulations that impact on each member. Defining the rules is critical for two reasons:

  • The rule-set provides every member with a clear outline of what they need to do in order to comply with the regulations and maintain their membership of the organisation. For many businesses this is uncommon and a powerful force for positive change;
  • The rule-set provides the basis for independent compliance, leading to accreditation, certification, branding rights, etc. The rules are the level playing field on which all members operate. 

No Self-Regulatory system will operate without this rule-set.

Developing a Code of Practice

Collating the legal requirements, together with what the industry would regard as Best Practice is a significant task, but an essential one if a truly representative set of rules is to be created. Industry leaders can play a large part in assisting with this. 

In many jurisdictions the Code of Practice may be registered with the authorities. Registration of the code, and compliance to it, can provide ‘all reasonable steps’ defence in the event of an incident. 

Understanding Your Stakeholders

Self-Regulating Organisations must know and understand a number of key stakeholders in a regulatory compliance ecosystem. Other stakeholders may be included, but none may be ignored if the system is to work effectively.

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Topics: Regulation, Peak Bodies

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