Non-compliance and the top of the enforcement pyramid

Knowing when to respond to breaches by prosecuting or seeking civil penalties requires careful assessment of risk. But what are the practical realities for Commonwealth regulators?

When a regulator faces a case of non-compliance, they have the choice to act via prosecution, or civil seeking penalties, however each course of action has its own complexities. The path taken could also send a strong or weak message about the seriousness of the breach.

These responses to non-compliance are the most serious and sit at the top of the regulatory enforcement pyramid. They should be reserved for non-compliances that have had the greatest consequences or potential consequences.

But which course of action is the right way to respond to non-compliance? We have previously looked at the importance of a risk-based assessment of non-compliance, and this approach will clearly indicate to a regulator when prosecution or civil penalty proceedings are warranted. We’ve also looked at when a light touch response to non-compliance can be justified.

One of the key benefits and reasons why a regulator will prosecute or seek civil penalties is for general deterrence.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.