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Creating a sustainable policy and procedure management framework

Posted by: Carl McCauley

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Dutch bank ING fined $1.18-billion for failing to spot money laundering” was the headline of the day earlier last week when ING agreed to a settlement where their financial controls were so poor that customers were able to easily launder money. “Even though our policies and procedures in the Netherlands resulted in us terminating the relationships with thousands of clients, it was not enough”, says ING in a statement. Companies often find out too late that their policies and procedures were inadequate or outdated. A lapse in policies and procedures results in increased risk. Such lapses can result in major problems such as compliance conflicts, punitive damages, and loss of business for the organization. That is why organizations aim to keep their policies and procedures updated and managed.

The best way to ensure there are no lapses in policies and procedures (P&P) is to create a policy and procedure management framework that will allow continuous management and due diligence.

Policy and Procedure Framework

Focusing on sustainability

Creating a sustainable framework for policy and procedure management ensures that the company will not have to worry about policies and procedures for a long time. These frameworks are powered by policy and procedure software solutions that focus on the document lifestyle cycle, version control, communication about P&P, change management, controlling access to documentation, document signing, and much more.

Document lifestyle cycle

Any policy or procedure that is made has a lifecycle – a time after which it needs to be reviewed otherwise it will be outdated. Policies and procedures are made for the current business environment – including laws, regulations, rules, customer expectations, competition, and much more. The business environment is not static – it keeps changing. Every organization knows that each document that is created for P&P has an expiry date. These systems track the creation dates of all policies as well as their expiration dates. Whenever any policy is nearing these dates the relevant stakeholders are notified. Organizations can easily see which parts of their policies and procedures need to be focused on and prioritize accordingly.

Version control

Version control is a necessary component of policy and procedure management. Whenever a document related to P&P is being created it goes through many drafts and contains inputs from many different stakeholders within the organization. This creates a risk – different people have different versions of the same document, and there may be confusion over which version supersedes the other versions. Policy and procedure management software automatically tracks not just the versions of documents but also the author. An electronic trail is created which tracks every change within the document, allowing all the draftees to easily revert to an earlier version if needed.

There is another advantage to this approach. Every person who accesses the documents accesses them through the system. This ensures that every viewer gets the latest version of the document. There is no need to email the documents to anyone since they are accessible through the system, thus there are no different versions lying around in different email inboxes and hard drives.

How these features help create a sustainable framework

When these features are implemented they result in a policy and procedure framework that will continue to perform and deliver results for a long period of time. Since every document’s lifecycle is maintained, there is no risk of outdated documents. Since every document is being version controlled, there is no risk of someone having an older version of a document. These systems also control who has what type of access to the documents. Organizations can assign editing rights to only a few people. Approval rights for changes can also be restricted. This results in policy and procedure workflow existing completely within the system.

It does wonders for audits as well. There is no need to investigate where an issue arose. Since every action taken with every document is tracked by the system, auditors can easily see the electronic trail and find out where the lapse occurred. These systems end up simplifying the workflow of such tasks and increase the speed at which organizations detect and solve issues related to documentation.

Finding the right policy and procedure management solutions for your organization

Different solutions are aimed at different use cases. The Predict360 Policy and Procedure Management module is aimed at meeting the needs of small to medium sized organizations which are looking for a solution that they can implement quickly. The solution has been designed to deliver the maximum ROI possible for such organizations – it accomplishes this by both being highly efficient in the business environment of small to medium businesses and by having payment terms that are easy for such organizations to accept. We imagine ING is doing a complete review of its current policies and procedures after paying $1.18 billion in fines. No doubt that the solutions they will employ will be miniscule when compared to the fine they accepted.

Maximize your return on investment by evaluating programs that meet your business needs and ensure you have a program in place that will save you from the financial short falls created when you have not done your due diligence in selecting the right solution. The best way to ensure that the system is the right fit is to try it out before deciding about procurement. If you want to see what such a system can do for your organization, you can start with a free trial of the Predict360 Policy and Procedure Management module. Get in touch with us and we will set up a demo for your organization and get you started with the trial.

If you want to see what a Policy and Procedure Management Software like Predict360 can do for your organization, simply sign up for a 30-day free trial. You can also get a live demo of Predict360’s most exciting features by getting in touch with us through chat, or by filling the Contact Us form.

About the company

360factors, Inc. (Austin, TX) helps companies improve business performance by reducing risk and ensuring compliance. Predict360, its flagship software product, vertically integrates regulations and requirements, policies and procedures management, risks and controls, audit management and inspections, and on-line training and qualifications, in a single cloud-based platform based on artificial intelligence.

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