Questions Leadership Should Ask the Compliance Officer

By January 9, 2017 No Comments

By: Roy Snell

This piece was originally shared on The Compliance & Ethics Blog and is republished here with permission.

Below are some questions leadership should ask the compliance officer and a suggestion about how to implement these questions in your organization.  You need to collaborate with leadership to pick a subset of the questions to implement.  Then, over time, you can add, edit and delete questions.

♦  Is there anyone interfering with your ability to implement any of the elements of an effective compliance program?

♦  Is there anyone interfering with your ability to prevent, find or fix this organization’s legal, policy or ethical issues?

♦  Do you have any responsibilities outside of compliance and ethics that could cause you to have a conflict?

♦  Do you report to anyone who has any responsibilities that could cause conflicts of interest for the compliance program?

♦  Is anyone with a conflict of interest guiding or directing the compliance and ethics program?

♦  Are there any issues that have been reported to you that are not being addressed?

♦  Has any issue been outstanding beyond a reasonable amount of time?

♦  Have we ever had an outside evaluation of our compliance and ethics program?

♦  Are we staying abreast of current trends in enforcement and effective compliance program management?

♦  Are there any areas where our compliance program lags industry best practices?

♦  Are we anticipating any potential new legal risks in the near future?

♦  Are there any substantive compliance issues currently under investigation?

♦  What issues are the enforcement community currently reviewing/investigating in our industry and where do we stand on those issues?

♦  How do you evaluate our organization’s ethical culture?

♦  Is there anything that leadership can do to help further develop, maintain or support the compliance and ethics program?

♦  Is there any further compliance and ethics education that you think leadership should attend?

♦  Do we need more compliance and ethics expertise on our governing body?

♦  Do you have a good working relationship and independent access to internal and external legal counsel, consultants and auditors?

♦  Are you getting cooperation on compliance training, and what type of feedback are you getting from the training?

♦  What are you most concerned about?

♦  Do you feel that everyone in this organization feels comfortable reporting potential issues, and do they have a reasonable opportunity/mechanism to share their concerns about a policy, legal or ethical infraction with you?

The governing body and leadership can engage in an effective dialogue with the compliance professional with some version of the suggested leadership questions. I would not try to do this all at once.  Once your organization develops this best practice, you can begin to add, delete and edit questions to make your list more robust.


Roy SnellRoy Snell is the CEO of the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE), which together now total more than 16,500 members. Roy was a co-founder and the organization’s first President. He has developed numerous partnerships with government, industry and other professional associations, and he has facilitated collaboration between the compliance/ethics profession and the enforcement community. Roy has a Master’s degree in Health and Human Services Administration.

Through his work with the two associations, he has overseen the development of compliance and ethics books, manuals, videos, conferences and audio conferences. He has been a regular speaker in the compliance profession for more than 10 years and has spoken internationally for the United Nations on compliance and ethics. He is a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP)® and holds a Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC)® certification.

Roy writes more than 25 compliance articles annually and has written for several international publications, including European CEO and The European Business Review. Roy is the co-editor of the Health Care Compliance Professional’s Manual and serves as editor, co-editor and advisory board member of several other books, magazines and newsletters. He has served as a source for many media reports, including national publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine and Business Week. He has been quoted in international publications such as Financial Times and Ethical Corporation.

Roy is a former Mayo Clinic administrator. He is also a former consultant and compliance officer at the University of Wisconsin. He has participated in the development of compliance program guidance, professional certification programs and the Compliance Professional’s Code of Ethics. He has dedicated more than 20 years to the compliance profession and to the development of compliance programs on an international basis. Roy has been named one of Ethisphere’s Most Influential People in Business Ethics for the last four years (2012-2015).


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