Ethics Officers Professional Development

Ethics and compliance officers recognize the benefits of participating in conferences, workshops, or other meetings offered by respected professional associations and industry partners. Such events offer educational sessions devoted to all aspects of ethics and compliance, and provide opportunities to meet and to learn from colleagues in the industry. Ethics professionals recognize that what they learn at such events helps them evaluate their own programs in comparison to the lessons learned and best practices of other similar organizations.

Although there are invaluable benefits to attending in person, ethics professionals can also maintain their awareness of current issues and practices in the field by using program agendas as an outline for self-learning. Let’s use the Construction Industry Ethics & Compliance Initiative (CIECI) as an example.

Members of CIECI have a great opportunity to boost their awareness of current ethics-related issues by attending the upcoming CIECI 2014 Best Practices Forum in Denver, Colorado on October 6-7. (

Here is the agenda:

— DBE/MBE Compliance (disadvantaged business enterprise/minority business enterprise)

— Developments in Davis-Bacon Act Compliance

— Supply Chain Due Diligence, Ethics and Compliance

— Considering and Handling Disclosures to the Government

In addition, there will be an opening panel discussion about assessing the effectiveness of compliance and ethics programs and additional panel discussions and case study sessions. Ethics and compliance officers who cannot attend this forum can still learn from it:

–Find colleagues who will be attending the event and ask them to share what they learn in selected sessions.

–Reach out to speakers to find out if they are willing and able to share their expertise on selected topics

–Set aside time to do personal research into topics of particular interest, or ask staff and colleagues to help

Using the CIECI examples, you might look for information about recent local, state, or federal actions addressing DBEs or MBEs and then review your organization’s interactions with these or similar business enterprises to ensure your compliance program is in line with current expectations.

You could do something similar with the Davis-Bacon Act topic. The Associated Builders and Contractors website tracks ongoing Davis-Bacon issues. If your business is subject to the Davis-Bacon Act, ask yourself how these developments and issues might impact your compliance program now or in the near future.

Research into the supply chain topic could lead in a number of directions. Pick one aspect of the topic that seems especially relevant to your organization and look for recent information about lessons learned or best practices. How does your program compare? Is there room for improvement? Or should you be leading the session next year?

“Disclosures to the Government” is quite a broad topic, though a review of the forum agenda shows the session will be led by construction firm general counsels. Perhaps you could invite your own general counsel to do an educational briefing on the topic for you and your ethics and compliance colleagues.

One way to create and maintain an effective compliance and ethics program is to model  it on existing compliance and ethics programs and best practices of other well-regarded organizations.

Ethics and compliance professionals, if they are to stay on top of what constitutes best practices, need to make time to educate themselves, whether through attendance at relevant conferences or by using conference agendas as outlines for self-study or through other means.

Ethical Advocate understands the needs of construction industry clients and can help you implement and maintain governance, risk, and compliance solutions.