Not all applicable compliance obligations have been identified. The Register of Environmental Aspects and Environmental Legislation Register do not include all applicable legislation, and up to date legislation:
The Register of Environmental Aspects was found to be out of date (eg. the Waste Enforcement Regulations 2018 and the WEEE
Regulations 2018) and missing other items (eg. Oil Storage Wales Regulations 2016 and the F Gas Regulations 2018).
The Environmental Legislation Register is missing the Waste Enforcement Regulations 2018 and the WEEE Regulations 2018, and includes the F Gas Regulations 2015 (but not 2018).
Some Context to the Finding
This minor non-conformity was assigned to a multi-sited public sector organisation based in Wales. The audit scope was limited to the waste management department.
The finding was raised during a transfer assessment. So the organisation concerned already held certification to ISO 14001 but had decided to transfer to another Certification Body.
The organisation had implemented their Environmental Management System using internal resources and, with the benefit of hindsight, they appreciated that they lacked the knowledge to adequately identify and maintain compliance to relevant legislation, including that which was directly applicable to nature of their work activities and geographic location.
Action taken to address the finding
The organisation drew up a spreadsheet to analyse the root cause(s) behind the finding and to detail a series of corrective actions which included:
Review and simplify the documentation. There is no need for legislation to be detailed in both the Register of Environmental Aspects and the Register of Legislation. It is best to detail legislation in one central place and to signpost to headings as appliable. E.g. the Waste Enforcement Regs and WEEE would all fall under a wider heading of 'waste' whilst F Gas Regulations would often be identified under a heading for Ozone depleting substances. Keeping details of legal requirements in just one place (i.e. the Legal Register) will avoid unecessary duplication (or the inevitable scenario of the registers being updated at different times). One central register is so much simpler!
Upskill staff. Additional training will ensure that staff know where to identify changes in legislation and could help them understand how to determine if the legislation applied to their organisation.
Engage with consultants. Legal compliance can be a complex and time consuming task for individuals if they are not dealing with it all of the time. For that reason, many organisations prefer to outsource the service of reviewing and checking for changes in applicable legislation.
Consider cloud based compliance software. In recognising how challenging it was to manage legal compliance from word documents and spreadsheets, especially when trying to ascertain which legislation applied to each site, the organisation recognised that it may be beneficial to modernise the system altogether.
Lessons to take from this finding
One finding may require many corrective actions to ensure that it can be closed out in full.
Ensure that the people collating the Register of Legislation have the knowledge and experience to do so.
Keep the documentation as simple as possible to avoid unecessary duplication.
Have a system to ensure that you keep up to date with changes in legislation.
If you're struggling to make paper or spreadsheet based systems work for your compliance management, perhaps it's time to see if Mango could work for you. It's free to book a demonstration where you'll be able discuss your specific concerns.