SFO Operational Handbook - Evaluating A Compliance Programme
On 17 January 2020, the SFO released their Operational Handbook aimed at evaluating a compliance programme. This tool is used in order to assess the effectiveness of an organisation’s compliance programme.
Its purpose is to inform decisions on the case including whether:
- A prosecution is in the public interest
- The organisation should be invited into DPA negotiations and if so what conditions should the DPA include
- the organisation has adequate procedures
- The existence and nature of the compliance programme might be a relevant factor for sentencing considerations.
Expert Opinion"The SFO stress that the Operational Handbook is meant for internal guidance only. It should not be relied on as the basis of any legal advice. Despite this, it may be a useful tool as a way to understand the methodology and process of the SFO when deciding whether to go down the prosecution or DPA route. This may be beneficial for an organisation to see what foundations may be laid to have the best chance of entering into a DPA should the situation arise." Craig Weston - Barrister & Senior Associate