Who’s your TCP Code champion?

For a telco to succeed in TCP Code compliance, it’s essential that somebody in the organisation takes on the role of Code champion.  As important as the Code is, almost everyone in a busy telco has ‘better things to do’. So an effective champion who makes it their priority is vital if the Code is to be a priority for the business overall.

So who should be your Code champion, and what support will they need?

Picking your champion

Well, they often select themselves. They are the ‘oddball’ who volunteers for ACMA and other industry seminars, and mentions advertising laws from time to time, and gets genuinely irritated when TIO numbers spike. Ask yourself this: If the TIO had you in its sights for an ugly systemic investigation, who on staff would you prefer to do the talking on your behalf? That may well be the right person to be your Code champion.

It’s about the detail, too

They’ll be a detail person. The Code is full of individual, specific requirements … over 1,000 in all … so it takes an eye for detail and a fair amount of patience.

They’ll need some miles on their ‘life odometer’

They probably won’t be a ‘kid’. Your champion needs some personal authority, life experience and diplomatic skills that a 21 year old rarely has.

And compliance isn’t a hobby

And Code compliance has to be core business for them. If it’s not their top priority, it needs to be in their top three. If they don’t have an hour or two a day to devote to it between now and 1 April 2013, they aren’t the right person (or you need to rearrange their duties to free up the necessary time).

You’ll need to empower them

It’s simple. If the business owners don’t genuinely commit to Code compliance, the business won’t achieve it. We expect to see plenty of Code champions quietly give up because they weren’t properly ‘annointed’ by the directors to do what’s required.

Make sure your champion is properly mandated and that your team knows it.

You need to resource them

By October 2012, every telco should have a TCP Code resourcing plan in place. ‘What do we need to do and what people and time and dollars and external support will be required to do it?’ Your champion should know exactly what they have at their command to do the job that’s required of them. And it’s your job to make sure those resources are adequate.

Give them your full attention

Code compliance involves a lot of policy decisions. The Code often doesn’t tell you exactly what to do. It says that you must have a Financial Hardship Policy, for instance, but it doesn’t tell you word by word what it must say.

Your champion won’t be able to make all the necessary decisions themself. They’ll need lots of input from the business and the owners. Make sure they can get plenty of attention and responsiveness when they need it.

Understand they’ll hit some rocks

No Code compliance program will go smoothly. Your champion and anyone who supports them will meet apathy, incompetence, unresponsiveness and even cynicism from the people they are trying to organise into a compliant business.  Don’t make your champion beg for understanding about this.  Ask them how it’s going and make it easy for them to report any difficulties.

Value and acknowledge them

Make no mistake.  Some smaller telcos will be going out of business because of the TCP Code or, more accurately, their inability to adapt to it.  Your Code champion and their support team (if any) deserve credit for helping keep your business in business.  It’s not merely part of effective empowerment to value and acknowledge them.  It’s simple justice.

Don’t know who your Code champion is yet?

We’re no advocates of TCPanic, but if you don’t have a champion yet, or at least a shortlist, you’re behind schedule by quite a way.  Make it a priority this week.



About Peter Moon

A telco lawyer with a truckload of experience
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