Sunday, 17 July 2011

Corporate responsibility

In my time working in the motor industry I have seen a number of initiatives aimed at 'regulating' the garage sector come and go. In the 2005 paper by the National Consumer Council 'At a Crossroads' it was claimed there had been 13 failed attempts to self regulate this sector over a 30 year period.

I started my career in the automotive industry in 1985, so I should have seen most of these come and go, but I can't say I can name more than a handful.

This can be a problem with self regulation of this nature, the schemes often go unnoticed because they only require a passive involvement.

When creating and establishing Motor Codes we decided that passive involvement was a redundant position, industry business operators should be proud to sign up to the scheme and visibly commit to their customers.

Those that are doing this are finding that Motor Codes confirms not only their intention to 'do the right thing' but also enables our industry to demonstrate a corporate responsibility to acceptable standards and behaviours.

I suspect as Government pushes harder on the media for not applying any form of adequate self regulation, other areas will come under scrutiny to demonstrate whether they have voluntarily established the rules by which they will police themselves and whether that policing is adequate. Those schemes will also face challenges if they are seen to be less than robust in protecting consumers.

Through having developed our codes via the Office of Fair Trading Consumer Codes Approval Scheme we are able to demonstrate our own corporate responsibility which is further backed by our own Independent Compliance Assessment Panel, which is currently chaired by Trading Standards CEO, Ron Gainsford. This panel exists to take an independent judgement of our operation of the codes and gives me and my team an independent set of objectives to deliver, as well as deciding on sanctions and matters of non-compliance.

We are proud to have created a process that ensures our codes are robust, delivering consumer protection and establishing the minimum standards that our industry can use to demonstrate their own commitment to getting it right.

What value self regulation? When established for the right reasons and operated properly, an extremely valuable addition to the landscape of any sector.

All the best

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