Filling the compliance gap


Well-designed and properly-enforced regulation plays a vital role in improving the way markets work for the benefit of business, employees and citizens. It helps to support sustainable growth, enhanced trade and increased investment, as well as improving social and environmental outcomes.

It is well recognised that the regulatory climate is a key contributor to the creation of a positive and supportive business environment whilst also assuring public and environmental protection. It is no surprise, therefore, that the Government, through Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is a major supporter of increased learning and development in regulatory affairs, and in particular supporting a new generation of Regulatory Compliance Officer.

This is where the new Level 4 Apprenticeship Regulatory Compliance Officer comes in, and fills a much-needed gap

Early champion

The CSA was an early champion of Apprenticeships, and quick to recognise a need in the market for a new level of compliance training. While it already had a Level 3 qualification in regulation and compliance for those working specifically in the financial services sector, and a more senior Level 6 qualification for a similar audience, there was nothing in-between. Neither, as it happens, was there any mid-level qualification for those outside of the financial service environment.

This is where the new Level 4 Apprenticeship Regulatory Compliance Officer comes in, and fills a much-needed gap. We refer to it internally as ‘The poachers and gamekeepers course’, for it is designed both for people who work for the regulators and individuals within firms that are themselves regulated, bringing them together within the same classroom. It can lead to some healthy debates and sharing of ideas and challenges, and ultimately leads to a better understanding of one another’s position, and more collaborative ways of working.

The CSA has been an integral part of the Trailblazer Group from the very beginning, supporting a drive to a new quality standard. We saw ‘compliance’ as being a logical development of the extensive work we had been doing in other areas such as credit control, collections and risk. In the early Autumn we tendered for a contract to deliver Regulatory Compliance Officer Apprenticeships to OPSS and were successful in that tender, to our obvious delight. It serves as an endorsement for all of the hard work we have been doing up until now.

Blended learning

The contract is for 24 Apprentices who will be based in OPSS offices Teddington and Birmingham. Learning is divided into 14 units, looking at such vital areas as risk assessment models and methods, evaluating how a compliance system and controls fit into the business planning cycle, and working within an organisation’s policies, procedures and the law. It also covers ways of collecting and analysing management information (MI), identifying and explaining relevant statutory codes, and the all-important ways of measuring success. It also looks at some of the ‘softer’ skills around managing individuals and teams, communicating in difficult circumstances, and effective ways of taking difficult decisions.

This is a new Apprenticeship standard which has been sponsored and promoted by OPSS from its inception. Those on the course will receive their training in a number of different ways with a ‘blended’ approach that includes workshops, e-learning, structured workplace learning, and projects. Project plans are now underway and we anticipate that the first Apprentices will start in January 2019. We are also looking at how we can add further value by delivering additional training to other members of staff in OPSS who are currently outside of the Apprenticeship programme but who could benefit from further support and insight.

The Level 4 Regulatory Compliance Officer Apprenticeships continues to go from strength to strength, appealing to organisations as diverse as an international airport operator to a well-known media brand, and every point in-between. It also appeals to the public sector, and supports the Credit Services Association’s desire to promote industry best-practice and commercial ambitions that allows us to invest further in future training and development.

If you would like to know more about the Level 4 Regulatory Compliance Officer Apprenticeships, or indeed any of the Apprenticeship training that the CSA provides, contact


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Fiona Macaskill, Director of Learning & Development, Credit Services Association. The Credit Services Association (CSA) is the only National Association in the UK for organisations active in the debt collection and purchase industry. The Association, which has a history dating back to 1906, has 300 member companies which represent 90% of the industry, and employ 11,000 people. At any one time its members hold up to £60 billion for collection, returning nearly £3 billion in collections to the UK economy per annum. As the voice of the collections industry, our vision is to build confidence in debt collection by making the entire process clear, easy to understand and less stressful for all those involved. Further information on the CSA can be found at:

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