In the world of regulatory and professional services, the need to consider governance risks and controls is crucial.
Governance, risks and controls (GRC) - what does this mean, and why is it so important?
Any need for legal support has its origin in a sense of wrong-doing, either against an individual or an organisation. An incident or event can escalate all too quickly into a serious issue that triggers the need for specialist legal support. For an individual, issues may arise from work-based incidents or with educational institutions (such as schools and universities). Conversely, businesses, public bodies, schools and universities may be subject to allegations of wrong-doing, regulatory financial penalties and compensation claims from either individuals or other institutions.
Where the incident is considered criminal, this will involve the Police. However, any incident or matter has the potential to end up in the formal court or tribunal system.
The need to consider effective governance, risks and controls (GRC) goes right to the heart of most of these matters. To put it another way, if a matter involves a decision, then there is a policy, process and procedure that should have been followed correctly for making that decision.
GRC is a collective term that enables us to provide a best practice approach for building a strong and effective case for all our clients; whether the client is the defendant or complainant. By bringing GRC expertise to a case right from the outset, this helps to address all the factors and considerations for those crucial questions that a client may have. For example:
- I have been made subject to disciplinary action at work, and maybe suspended from work - what should I do?
- My child has been refused a place at our preferred school - do I have grounds for appeal?
- My child has been suspended / expelled from school - this is unfair and what are my options?
- I have serious concerns and want to make a complaint against an employer - do I have sufficient grounds?
- I have been falsely accused and may be charged by the Police - are they able to do this?
- My case has been dropped by the Police, but this is still on my record - can I get that deleted?
- I am concerned we may have detected a potential fraud going on with one of our employees - what should we do?
- We are subject to a formal complaint - how best should we defend this?
- How can we improve our organisation’s policies, procedures and controls so that we are more resilient to potential regulatory financial penalties, compensation payments and reputation loss?
The ability to understand and assess the critical factors quickly helps us to identify whether all parties have acted appropriately from the outset of a case matter. For example, where there are relevant policies and procedures involved, these need to be understood and assessed as to whether they are fit for purpose. It is important then, to understand exactly how well they have been followed in practice. This can often be a crucial factor in determining the outcome of a case.
At Monan Gozzett we combine our comprehensive specialist legal, financial and GRC dedicated expertise across all our regulatory, criminal defence, family and civil areas to ensure we focus on the best course of action to get the best result for you as our client.
We have a proven track record of success across a number of sector industries and professions, including commercial enterprises and businesses, education, health and local authorities.
Areas where this is particularly important and significant include:
Public & regulatory services, including judicial review
It can be a very daunting task or an individual to be faced with challenging a public body or private organisation. It is also often a lengthy process with multiple stages of complaints, appeals and referrals, with strict time limits along the legal journey. As an individual, you will need specialist legal and GRC support early in the process to give your case the best possible chance of success.
We work with a wide range of organisations, helping them to make robust decisions and to discharge their duties in an appropriate manner. This often involves the need to analyse existing policies and procedures to ensure they are not only fit for purpose, but also that robust governance arrangements are in place to enable them to discharge their duties in the proper way.
Regulatory and professional discipline
Many professions are governed by an official body which can investigate its members for alleged breaches of regulation and instigate disciplinary proceedings based on the findings. Regulatory and disciplinary investigations can be extremely damaging to both an individual's career or a business entity. We are able to advise and defend you or your business if you are subject to an investigation or disciplinary action.
Through our active engagement and insightful approach, we always aim to mitigate the severity of impact to livelihood and business reputation.
Our track record of experience in these areas comes from working with a wide range of professions, including:
- Education – Board of Governors, Head teachers, teachers and lecturers.
- Legal and financial - lawyers, accountants, financial advisers and consultants.
- Media and sports - musicians, actors, television personalities and sports people.
- Medical - doctors, nurses and dentists.
- Airline and travel – pilots and professional drivers.
- Businesses – corporate directors, chief officers and senior management.
The GRC mindset is just as important and relevant for criminal defence. In particular, for anyone faced with a false allegation, it is likely to be crucial for the defence case to understand how the Police have acted, or intend to act, in response to the allegation. By focusing on these critical factors early, this can really enhance the strength of a defendant's case and contribute to getting the matter dropped prior to charge.
Adopting a similar approach for challenging the Police to get a record deleted when a charge has been dropped, has enabled us to be extremely successful for our clients when they are faced with this scenario.