What does a good legal register look like?

22nd February 2022

Cherry Whittaker

Lancashire based consultancy, The Compliance People, who are a local company to Comply Direct, provide the tools, systems and software for organisations to keep up to date with legislation they’re required to comply with, across health and safety, quality and environment, as well as monitor compliance throughout multiple departments.

Beyond waste and sustainability areas, we know the nature of many of our customers’ businesses means they also have numerous health and safety, and quality compliance commitments. We are working with The Compliance People to provide advice related to these areas and support our stakeholders in managing their broader HSE compliance obligations.

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The Compliance People Consultant Hannah Williams outlines the key elements of a good quality legal register whilst explaining how their online product, The Legislation Update Service (LUS), can help you meet these requirements.

For companies that are certified, or are aiming to become certified, to management system standards ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety) there are requirements under Clause 6 of each Standard around compliance obligations. These requirements can be difficult and time consuming to manage without having the correct expertise and tools in place.

Below Hannah states just some of things that make up a good quality legal register:

The Compliance People – Legislation Update Service (LUS) – 7 Day Free Trial

It contains all legislation relevant to the organisation’s activities and the legal jurisdictions it operates in.

The register should accurately cover all activities, products, and services (i.e. be bespoke) to the organisation. It doesn’t need to include anything that isn’t relevant, otherwise you will waste time assessing legislation that doesn’t affect you.

You should be confident that there are no applicable laws missing from your register. Setting up your register correctly is key to ensuring all necessary legislation has been included; that’s why LUS provides a simple set up tool to help you decide what should be in your register.

It clearly outlines the compliance duties within each piece of legislation.

The register should not only show which pieces of law are applicable but also how each law applies to the organisation, i.e. its compliance duties. The organisation needs to understand why the legislation applies and what it needs to do to achieve compliance.

In LUS, this is achieved by reading the plain English summary and duties provided in every entry.

It documents how the organisation complies with each piece of relevant legislation.

It isn’t enough to identify the relevant pieces of law and determine how they apply; you must also carry out an initial compliance assessment (or audit) of your current performance against each law. A legal register should record the results of this initial compliance assessment, as well as link to any supporting information that evidences the level of compliance against each piece of legislation.

LUS provides a section for adding compliance comments and attaching supporting documents to help you with this.

It provides a clear understanding of the organisation’s compliance status against each piece of relevant legislation.

Your legal register should clearly show your current compliance status against each piece of law so you can see where there are any issues that need to be addressed and to facilitate effective communication of compliance status to relevant personnel.

LUS provides a simple visual traffic light function for this.

It is kept up to date.

New legislation is brought into force all the time, as well as changes constantly being made to existing laws. The register needs updating to reflect any new or amended laws that apply to the organisation, as well as removing anything that has been revoked or replaced.

Within LUS, this happens automatically once a month. You are told about this in two ways; through the newsletter (which is sent at the end of each month) and via the ‘New in Your Register’ section.

It records ongoing compliance evaluations.

A legal register is a live document and should be reviewed regularly and all legislation contained with the register re-evaluated at defined frequencies determined by your organisation. Your legal register should show how often you carry out your compliance evaluations and the results of these.

Within LUS, you have the option to set a review date so you can be reminded when a new compliance assessment is needed. Your compliance comments are time and date stamped providing an audit trail for each piece of legislation in your register.

It records actions identified to address any areas of non-compliance or opportunities for improvement and their progress.

If your initial compliance assessment or ongoing compliance evaluations identify any areas of noncompliance or opportunities for improvement, the legal register should allow for recording of the compliance actions or recommendations that have been identified to address these, as well as being able to track progress against them.

LUS allows you to set actions and assign users and deadline dates for completion. You can then monitor how effectively these are being closed out and update your compliance status as a result.

For more information please don’t hesitate to view our bitesize webinar or sign up for a 7 Day Free Trial.

Through our social enterprise model, we deliver professional environment, health & safety and quality compliance services in a competitive marketplace but instead of our profits going to shareholders, they’re gift aided into our charity, Newground Together, to support environment, social and community projects.

For more information on all our services please visit www.thecompliancepeople.co.uk

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Complementing the legal register element of ISO 14001 certification, Comply Direct offer a range of bespoke ISO 14001 consultancy to support businesses in working towards achieving the standard, covering initial auditing of a company’s existing EMS against the latest standard, including onsite visits, as well as gap analysis, and support with integration of ISO 14001 with other management standards.