The Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition has published Model Competition Compliance Program, along with the guidelines on how market participants should adapt the model to their personal circumstances. The practice of competition law enforcement in Serbia so far shows that competition law infringements are often result of a complete lack of awareness of the legal requirements. The main aim of the published compliance program model is to raise compliance awareness among market participants and reduce the risks of provoking competition law infringements.
The model program is a starting point for market participants interested in the creation of a compliance program. It contains suggestions as to what to include in the program, how to develop compliance trainings for the employees and procedures to be followed when infringement is suspected or discovered.
The development of a company’s own competition compliance program involves several main steps/phases:
- step one – company’s own risk analysis
- step two – owning the compliance program by the management and commitment to implement it
- step three – creating a clear organizational structure for implementation of the compliance program (e.g. appointing a compliance officer)
- step four – establishing an internal mechanism for cooperation with the Commission in case of an investigation
- step five – developing employee trainings
- step six – monitoring and evaluating the adherence to the compliance program
The competition compliance program is a health document that every well-governed organization should have. The model program offered by the Commission is a good starting point but cannot be taken as is. Each company should define its risk profile and soft spots when it comes to potential competition law infringement and develop a tailor-made documents addressing the specific risks. Competition compliance documents to be developed pursuant to the compliance program should be practical do’s and don’ts understandable to an average person within the organization. Good compliance program should not rest on proclamations only but should aim at achieving that people within the organization internalize the rules and adapt their behaviour to the rules. This is achieved through regular trainings and carefully designing monitoring of compliance.