Regulators… Friend or Foe?

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Like a scene from an old western, local licensing police burst through the saloon doors, security guards bristle and publicans take cover. Of course we exaggerate, but surely we can do better than this. If both sides see each other as the bad guys, everyone loses. Perhaps now is the time to rewrite the script?

The security, liquor and gaming industry is already facing strong external pressures from all sides – media scrutiny, public opinion and evolving legislation. 

While some regulators and venues work tremendously together on local issues and concerns, many struggle to find the right mix. So, if we’re not working together as an industry, and in some cases even working against each other, it makes it harder for everyone to do their job and to balance safety, compliance and business pressures. 

With more than 2,000 police walkthroughs recorded in AusComply’s system already this year alone, that’s a lot of potential opportunities to work together.

What do regulators need?

Regulators have a job to do. They’re under pressure to make sure venues are safe for patrons, compliant, and meeting all the legal requirements. Like everyone, they are busy and rely on reports, paperwork and evidence to show they are meeting their KPIs and public expectations. They need to be confident your venue is doing the right thing.

What do venues need?

Venue owners/operators want to provide an environment that’s safe, fun, compliant and incident-free. But let’s face it, it’s still a business so it also needs to be profitable. They want patrons to have a great time, come back and bring their friends. They want to feel that regulators have their back and trust them to run a safe, compliant and professional business.

What do patrons and the public need?

They want safe, vibrant communities that offer a diverse range of enjoyable entertainment options via well-managed venues that are compliant and free from violence and illegal activity.

So in essence, everyone wants the same thing, a culture of safety and compliance throughout the industry that creates dynamic and enjoyable venues, happy patrons, profitable businesses and a thriving community.

Let’s be friends

At its best, the relationship between local licensing police and the local publican is mutually beneficial. 

While circumstances can be challenging for regulators, security and venue staff, the recent shift in community and government sentiment, and subsequent relaxing of the lockout laws, presents a window of opportunity to change the language and relationship between regulators and venues and therefore improve the outcomes.

Making the first move

In the past, compliance has often been seen as simply a box-ticking exercise, increasingly however today’s smart operators are getting on the front foot to not only fulfil their obligations, but to proactively demonstrate a culture of safety and compliance using digital tools.

The advantage of digital compliance platforms compared to manual paper-based systems is that everyone gets what they need much faster and importantly, painlessly:

  • Security guards, via an app on their phone, can record and access all the key details from the night – refusals, removals, proactive actions etc, so they’re not left nervously scratching their heads when regulators attend. 
  • Regulators can quickly gather the information needed for their reporting, as well as gain real confidence that the venue is doing all the things expected of a safe, well run operation. 
  • Venues and security firms can also produce a real-time snapshot of their venue’s compliance and review performance over time so  improvements can be implemented, engendering a culture of safety and compliance.
  • Peace of mind. Lastly, when an incident does occur, the evidence recorded in real-time can be used on-site or remotely to quickly confirm if the correct procedures were followed, improving response times, communication, risk management and giving peace of mind to everyone involved.

For too long, venues, security and regulators have been speaking different languages

Having access to information when needed, helps to equalise on-site communication and interactions. So when security or venue staff are asked questions by regulators, instead of being vague or reaching for a paper book, with data now at their fingertips, venues and guards can confidently provide answers to questions, and do so with relevant context. 

A regulator visit that may have previously taken an hour, can be whittled down to just minutes, allowing regulators to continue with other more pressing obligations, leaving the venue to continue running a vibrant, safe and compliant business.

Open communication is the key

In a fast-changing environment like hospitality and security, open communication, mutual trust and accurate information can be the key to evolving  this friend or foe status to a trusted stakeholder and symbiotic relationship.

Once that’s in place, people in every corner of the industry can get back to doing what they do best, with minimal pain and maximum effectiveness. 

With a little luck and a little hard work the pressure on the industry as a whole, and perhaps even the regulations themselves, can relax over time as trust, understanding and consumer confidence is restored. 

So, who’s round is it?

 


 

AusComply is a mobile digital incident register, compliance platform and mobile app that ticks all the boxes. It helps licensed venues and security firms efficiently meet their obligations, demonstrate a culture of compliance and minimise risks.

Trusted by 100s of venues and security firms across Australia, it streamlines and automates the entire compliance workflow including a digital incident register and sign-in register.

To arrange an obligation-free demonstration or learn more, contact us on 1300 2 COMPLY (1300 22 66 75) or info@auscomply.com.au

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