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Is your compliance training program effective according to the DOJ?

In 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) updated its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (ECCP) guidance. While this document is intended as a reference framework for DOJ prosecutors when evaluating a company’s compliance training program amidst investigations and subsequent charging decisions, it also provides practitioners a roadmap to structure their programs for efficacy.

Within this 20-page document, there is a framework for creating an effective compliance program that engages learners and captures strong data. As a response, our latest guide, ‘What the DOJ wants from your training program‘, breaks down the three major themes of guidance and helps you to apply them to your own compliance training programs, including the training tools and resources that will help you work smarter, not harder.

First, let’s first look at how the DOJ assesses a compliance training program overall.


What core questions does the DOJ use to evaluate a compliance training program’s effectiveness?


  1. Is the corporation’s compliance training program well designed? If you want to evaluate the effectiveness of your compliance program, the gaps and strengths of its design are a great place to start. Specifically, the DOJ guidance asks whether your program is “adequately designed for maximum effectiveness in preventing and detecting wrongdoing by employees and whether corporate management is enforcing the program or is tacitly encouraging or pressuring employees to engage in misconduct.”
  2. Is the program being applied earnestly and in good faith? The second question to ask yourself is whether your program is “adequately resourced and empowered to function effectively.” The DOJ asks prosecutors to evaluate whether the program is implemented as effectively as possible and to assess whether the program is really just a “paper program” or if it is “implemented, reviewed, and revised in an effective manner.”
  3. Does the corporation’s compliance training program work in practice? Third, just because misconduct happens, doesn’t mean the program behind it was ineffective. What the DOJ encourages prosecutors to look into last, is “the adequacy and effectiveness of the corporation’s compliance training program at the time of the offense, as well as at the time of a charging decision” and whether the organization can detect misconduct, and if it evolves “…over time to address existing and changing compliance risk.”


Download our guide to discover what the DOJ wants your training program to accomplish in 2023 an our methodology for helping clients align with DOJ guidance more easily than ever.

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