Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Marshaling Integrity - Joseph Murphy

These excerpts are taken from our interview of Joseph Murphy, an in-house compliance lawyer and outside advisor (and Working for Integrity co-author).

In my role in CSLG I provide advice to companies. Much of this I can do from my office, on the phone or by e-mail. I may write or review draft company documents—codes, policy statements, audit reports—and provide the client with changes and ideas. I also do training and audits for companies. The training involves on-site visits and presentations to employees. These sessions are typically interactive, using exercises like role-plays or other techniques to involve the employees in the learning process. The audits also involve on-site visits including review of documents and interviews with employees, as well as walking the premises. I also participate in client meetings addressing a variety of compliance program elements.

Government needs to do more to recognize compliance programs and compliance professionals. For example, if you look at the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, you will not find any reference to compliance programs or compliance officers, even though this law deals with preventing corporate misconduct. This omission is a mistake. Government needs to make it clear that it will treat companies better if their compliance programs are rigorous and staffed by empowered compliance professionals. Government also needs to take steps to eliminate the legal barriers to having effective compliance programs. It should be clear, for example, that the results of compliance audits cannot be used against companies.

The people who are doing this work need to see themselves in a larger context as practicing in the field of ethics and compliance. They need their employers and society to recognize this as a discrete and very important field of practice, and that it is becoming truly a profession. It is necessary because the people doing this work need that degree of protection; they need that degree of independence and empowerment if they are going to work effectively.

Joseph Murphy's interview appears in both Working for Integrity and Building a Career in Compliance and Ethics.

(All interviewees spoke to us about their own personal experiences and opinions; interviewees were not acting as a spokesperson or otherwise representing their current or former employers.)

(This entry - and most of the blog - was written by Joshua Leet)