Compliance in emerging markets: an Oxford style debate

On 21st April, the British Arab Commercial Bank played host to a debate held by the BIFM International Special Interest Group. The debate posed a contentious and complex question: In emerging markets is compliance for Facilities Managers and the supply chain about doing the right thing or the best thing?

On one side of the debate were Emily Scragg, Fire, Safety and Environmental Manager at Canary Wharf Group plc and Assurity Consulting's Head of Service Development Greg Davies. On the other was Managing Director at Assured Safety and Risk Management Rob Greenfield and Technical Director at International Institute of Risk and Safety Management Peter Hall. Greg and Emily presented their argument concerning the moral, social and reputational dilemma, arguing that for many issues, even in the UK, legal compliance is not achieved for a variety of reasons. Rob and Peter explained their belief that there is a moral case for safety, including in emerging markets and that systematic risk management is the only safe solution. The teams presented a range of personal and anecdotal evidence and explained their thinking, inciting comments and discussion along the way.

Lauren Lee, Consultant at Assurity Consulting, also attended as a spectator, and commented on the intensity of the debate and the effectiveness of the arguments which ultimately lead to minds being changed. Initial voting indicated that doing the 'right' thing was favoured, but a post-debate vote showed that considerably more voters agreed with Greg and Emily's argument that doing the best thing in workplace compliance is more important.

Overall, the event provided a great platform to voice opinions on an issue which remains debated; the over running of the event due to a large volume of audience questions demonstrated even further its popularity and the extent to which it proved helpful and thought provoking for the attendees. Our Assurity Consulting representatives both thoroughly enjoyed the event and are pleased to have been able to influence so many opinions.