Educational institutions need to ensure high standards of operations and make sure that they’re following not only regulatory best practices but ethical best practices as well. Compliance management is necessary in order to ensure responsible operations and failing to comply with relevant laws and regulations can result in serious consequences.
The most tangible consequences of compliance failures are financial penalties. Some of the more serious compliance offenses can also result in potential lawsuits or even incarceration. On top of that, non-compliance can also cause major reputational damage and disrupt the stability of your institution.
With the rise of new technologies and the challenges of a global pandemic, staying compliant has become more difficult than ever. As school operations moved online, student data became more vulnerable, and educational institutions were forced to quickly adapt to new circumstances in order to stay compliant.
Here are 4 tips to improve compliance management in the education sector.
You need to set up solid compliance policies and procedures
The first and the most important step of a successful compliance management strategy is creating extensive compliance policies and procedures. From identifying relevant regulations to defining which steps you should take in order to stay compliant, it is necessary to have a clearly written plan that will be available to every member of your institution.
Make sure to also create a well-defined code of conduct along with your compliance policies to make sure that your staff is well equipped to tackle compliance.
Good record-keeping and documentation is crucial to remain compliant
Another crucial part of compliance is record keeping. Records and documentation are essential, not only to help you track, report, and fix compliance errors, but they can also serve as critical evidence in case of litigation.
Effective record keeping requires effective technology. For example, implementing email archiving solutions will help you ensure that your email records are properly stored and tamper-proof. That way you’ll be able to easily keep track of your communication records and seamlessly search through your repository in case you need to present them as evidence in court. What’s more, these solutions also allow you to automate email retention and expunge emails after a certain amount of time, making record retention and compliance even easier.
Make sure that everyone is onboard and educate your staff
No matter how strong your policies are and how advanced the technology you’re using is, you won’t be able to ensure compliance if your staff doesn’t know how to properly implement them. That’s why it’s essential to clearly communicate the rules and make sure your staff is familiar with them.
Compliance training and education are essential and need to be performed regularly in order to keep them updated about the latest regulatory changes and teach them new tools and technological solutions.
Audits and policy updates are necessary for detecting and fixing compliance issues
Setting up a compliance policy isn’t a one-time activity. Laws and regulations are constantly changing and you need to stay on top of them. Additionally, you should always look for new tech solutions to help you make compliance more efficient.
Even if the regulations haven’t changed, you should be conducting regular audits in order to identify any potential risks before they become a serious problem.
It’s not easy to create a culture of compliance in the education sector. Compliance management is a dynamic process that requires constant adjustments and continuous training and education. With solid compliance policies, a good record-keeping strategy, an ongoing staff training program, and regular audits and updates, you can create an easy path to compliance.
Alex Morgan is a passionate tech blogger, internet nerd, and data enthusiast. He is interested in topics that cover data regulation, compliance, eDiscovery, information governance and business communication.
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