Establishing a robust Compliance Program has become an imperative due to the proliferation of rules and regulations governing the conduct of companies. companies. However, the lack of regulated guidance on the precise requirements of these programs raises questions about how to implement them.

What should a Compliance Program include?

Although we do not have an exhaustive regulation on compliance, there are two key documents in Spain that provide guidance: Article 31 bis.5 of the Criminal Code, which provides that

article 31 bis.5 of the Criminal Code

and the

Circular 1/0216 of the State Attorney General’s Office.


These documents focus primarily on

criminal compliance

but can be used as references for other areas of compliance.

These guidelines are essential when it comes to the prevention of criminal offenses, because they determine whether a company’s compliance program can mitigate or even exempt it from criminal liability if a crime is committed.

Main Elements of an Effective Compliance Program

  • Risk Identification: Recognize the areas of the company where crimes can occur and create a risk map. It is crucial to be aware of the

    laws that affect the company and the

    and the particular challenges it faces.
  • Establishment of Protocols: Design internal standards and measures that demonstrate the company’s commitment to regulatory compliance. This is where the creation of a

    code of ethics

    and other specific measures.
  • Adequate Resources: Ensure that you have the personnel and material resources to carry out the compliance program.
  • Complaints Channel: Implement a

    communication channel

    that allows both employees and third parties to report possible non-compliance, always guaranteeing confidentiality.
  • Disciplinary Regime: Establish internal measures to sanction conduct that violates internal or external policies, but always guaranteeing respect for the rights of the individual.
  • Review and Update: Periodically evaluate and update the compliance program, especially after a significant incident or change in the organization or relevant laws.
  • Promoting an Ethical Culture: Beyond mere documentation, it is essential to foster a culture that prioritizes ethics and respect for the law.
  • Clear documentation: Any compliance program must be well documented, accurate and adapted to the reality of the company.


Establishing a compliance program involves establishing a culture of integrity and accountability. The above guidelines are specific to criminal compliance, but the principles can and should be adapted to all areas of compliance.

all areas of compliance


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