Tuesday, October 19, 2010

OFT consults on competition compliance guidance

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

From the OFT press release:

The OFT is consulting on two guidance documents that aim to help businesses and company directors comply with competition law.

One of the documents has been developed for businesses and their advisers and the other is specifically for executive and non-executive directors.

The guidance for businesses and their advisers includes a separate quick guide intended to meet the specific needs of small to medium sized enterprises.

How Your Business Can Achieve Compliance (pdf 371kb) sets out the OFT's recommended risk-based, four-step process for creating a culture of compliance within a business. It has been developed as part of the OFT's Drivers of Compliance and Non-Compliance with Competition Law research. The guidance sets out in more detail the practical compliance measures that businesses might be able to take.

In parallel, the OFT is consulting on its draft guidance, Company Directors and Competition Law (pdf 575kb). This is intended to explain the level of understanding of competition law that company directors are expected to have and steps they should be taking to detect and prevent breaches of the law.

The draft guidance for company directors follows the recent publication of the OFT's revised guidance on Director Disqualification Orders in competition law cases, which sets out how it intends to use the sanction to deter anti-competitive activity. At the time, the OFT undertook to provide company directors with practical guidance on their duties under competition law.

Cavendish Elithorn, the OFT's Senior Director of Policy, said:

'Sanctions for involvement in competition law infringements can be severe for both businesses and individuals, especially directors. The OFT is well aware that most businesses and directors wish to comply with competition law. We are keen to help them do so. These guidance documents are intended to set out steps that businesses and company directors can take in order to avoid competition law infringements.'

As the two consultation documents are complementary, interested parties should read both when considering and submitting their views.

Responses to the consultations are due by 21 January 2011 and final versions of both guidance will be published on this website.


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