The Criminal Division announced today the release of a guidance document for white-collar prosecutors on the evaluation of corporate compliance programs. The document, entitled “The Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs,”updates a prior version issued by the Division’s Fraud Section in February 2017. It seeks to better harmonize the guidance with other Department guidance and standards while providing additional context to the multifactor analysis of a company’s compliance program.
The guidance document sets forth topics that the Criminal Division has frequently found relevant in evaluating a corporate compliance program, organizing them around three overarching questions that prosecutors ask in evaluating compliance programs: First, is the program well-designed? Second, is the program effectively implemented? And, third, does the compliance program actually work in practice?
To that end, Part I of the document discusses various hallmarks of a well-designed compliance program relating to risk assessment, company policies and procedures, training and communications, confidential reporting structure and investigation process, third-party management, and mergers and acquisitions. Part II details features of effective implementation of a compliance program, including commitment by senior and middle management, autonomy and resources, and incentives and disciplinary measures. Finally, Part III discusses metrics of whether a compliance program is in fact operating effectively, exploring a program’s capacity for continuous improvement, periodic testing, and review, investigation of misconduct, and analysis and remediation of underlying misconduct.
You can download the document HERE.