What does the word 'compliance' mean to you?

I asked a few people what they believed the word ‘compliance’ meant.

Here are some of their definitions:

  • To comply with set rules
  • To agree with something (rules/procedures) and follow
  • Meeting agreed criteria that need to be followed
  • To comply with regulations

As you can see, they are all roughly correct as the Oxford Dictionary definition of the noun Compliance, reads ‘acting in accordance to certain accepted standards’.


‘Compliance’ in its business sense refers to companies complying with rules and regulations set by Government Legislation, Industry Guidelines or Accredited Bodies, to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees and those who we do business with. These infer standards, accepted standards, designed to benefit all – standards, that govern the way we manufacture goods, sell our products or deliver services – standards, each business sets itself in a bid to standout in their industry.

This led me to revisit what we as a company have put in place to ensure we meet the standards required in our industry, those we adhere to as a business and those we believe to be the requirements of our clients.

Competition within our industry is immense and we find ourselves regularly competing with companies that may or may not comply with Government Legislation, meet industry criteria or act in accordance with Health & Safety Regulation.    

Mara’s decision was that we would compete by offering our clients the best service we can and to do this we would have to put in place a rigorous system of Management and Procedures designed to deliver best practice in every aspect of our business. To enable us to do this we engaged the services of an independent Business Consultancy Firm. We explained how we saw ourselves and what we hoped to achieve and they set about helping us achieve our goals.   

Company mission statements profess corporate responsibility, core values and customer promise.

All easily policed in fledgling businesses, however, as our businesses grow Management contact on an individual scale becomes logistically impossible and we have to rely on guidelines and procedures designed to ensure our interactions meet the standards our clients require and our company professes. Clients now look at a Company’s moral and ethical considerations, the Industry and Business accreditations that substantiate required business practice and service delivery standards.

Our decisions have resulted in Mara attaining UKAS Accreditations Management Systems and Investors in People Gold. But what do these accreditations mean to our clients, our suppliers and our employees?

ISO 9001 is the internationally recognised standard for the quality management for businesses.

  •  It applies to the processes that create and control the products and services an organisation supplies
  • It prescribes systematic control of activities to ensure that the needs and expectations of customers are met
  • It is designed and intended to apply to virtually any product or service, made by any process anywhere in the world
  • It shows commitment to quality, customers, and a willingness to work towards improving efficiency.
  • It demonstrates the existence of an effective quality management system that satisfies the rigours of an independent, external audit. 

 ISO 14001 defines global standards for implementing an effective Environmental Management System (EMS).

Achieving accreditation enables Mara to identify aspects of our business that are detrimental to the environment within the business as well as in the context of customer supply requirements. The understanding of Environmental Laws, as applied to the supply chain, ensures best practice, is achieved by our company and our Customers.

ISO 18001 is the internationally recognized assessment specification for occupational health and safety management systems.

The following key areas are addressed by ISO 18001:

  • Planning for hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control
  • OHSAS management programme
  • Structure and responsibility
  • Training, awareness and competence
  • Consultation and communication

Investors in People, is a business improvement tool administered by UK Commission for Employment and Skills and supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Measuring criteria includes: Effective Management, Culture and Communication, Developing People Managing Performance & Objectives. 

The word Compliance is now becoming more and more associated with Health & Safety. Current events have caused companies within in our industry to re-acquaint themselves with their responsibilities and compliance with corporate law and government legislation. I asked our independent Health & Safety Advisor for an official HSE Guideline and he directed me to a passage in a Statutory Health and Safety Compliance Sheet:

‘We know it is impossible to provide a guide on what compliance each business requires, however; it is possible to give indicators for managing risk, these can be summarised into four main groups:

  • Ethical and moral considerations;
  • Legal requirements;
  • Financial matters;
  • More general business considerations.

Health and Safety legislation requires ‘employers’ to carry out servicing, maintenance, testing, and statutory and mandatory inspections, on its properties, occupied dwellings, and workplaces to secure the health, safety and welfare of its employees, visitors, contractors and the wider public.’

It is the responsibility of Companies within our industry to comply with our Industry guidelines, to comply with Government Legislation, to establish checks and processes that ensure best practice,  to instil confidence and secured partnerships with existing and future clients.        


Justin Richefond, Mara Facility Services

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