Tag Archives: security rules

Security at work

Security rules won’t protect the organisation if people can’t do their job without breaching them.  And they’re no use if people can’t understand them.   Good security rules are brief, clear, and practical.

But good, clear, practical, workable, brief security rules are only half the battle.  What the organisation does speaks louder than what it says, and if senior managers don’t themselves honour the spirit of the rules, comply with the detail, and act when breaches take place ‘on their watch’, security problems will be endemic in the organisation.

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.   Tel: 08452 303050  Fax: 08452 303060  Website : www.irenicon.co.uk.  You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye and check our regular articles and news throughout the autumn on our blog site – https://irenicon.wordpress.com/

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Security at work

Many disciplinary rules properly specify breach of security or data handling rules as gross misconduct offences, which leave employees open to summary dismissal.  But the reality is that these long documents are often breached in minor, if not major ways, and the smart employee knows that some ‘rules’ count and some do not.  And there’s often a fascinating discrepancy between how breaches of such rules are interpreted in different sections of the same organisation.  Some managers will only take action if faced with a blatant (and proven) breach, whereas others monitor proactively for compliance, and keep a managerial eye on smaller breaches and trends.  These differences in approach cause problems for the whole business, and undermine the fairness of dismissals.  But fundamentally they derive from over-complex rules.

Sometimes the rules get stuck in being over-specific.  I once saw a rule – “do not steal from the petty cash box whilst wearing gloves”.  I always wondered if it was OK to be a bare-handed thief in that organisation.  Perhaps it was also OK to be a bare-faced liar.  But I’ve also seen rules that are so wide ranging that no-one could comply.  How about – “We require our staff to be totally honest at all times.”    I would hate to ask anyone in that organisation what they thought about my latest haircut!

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.   Tel: 08452 303050  Fax: 08452 303060  Website : www.irenicon.co.uk.  You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye and check our regular articles and news throughout the autumn on our blog site – https://irenicon.wordpress.com/

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Security at work

Reports indicate that theft and fraud in the workplace are increasing, as the recession and its after effects continue.

UK employment law places great emphasis on rules, policies and procedures.  You won’t find much about this in statute law, but the ACAS Codes, best practice advice and case law combine to promote written rules and policies.

These pressures have led to the development in most organisations of operation manuals, staff handbooks and training manuals, and these usually contain the security do’s and don’ts.  The rules ideally will cover security of goods, money, information and people.

There is an interesting tendency for these documents to get longer and longer — rules get added over time, as specific breaches are identified and dealt with.   This means that some security rules become so long that they have the unintended effect of making controls harder to enforce and breaches harder to challenge, not easier.

Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy.   Tel: 08452 303050  Fax: 08452 303060  Website : www.irenicon.co.uk.  You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye and check our regular articles and news throughout the autumn on our blog site – https://irenicon.wordpress.com/

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