Code of conduct and business principles
Smith & Nephew earns trust with patients, customers, healthcare professionals, authorities and the public by acting in an honest and fair manner in all aspects of its operations.
We expect the same from those with whom we do business, including distributors and independent agents that sell our products. Our Code of Conduct and Business Principles (‘Code’) governs the way we operate to achieve these objectives.
Smith & Nephew takes into account ethical, social, environmental, legal and financial considerations as part of its operating methods. We have a robust whistle-blowing system in all jurisdictions in which we operate. We are committed to upholding our promise in our Code that we will not retaliate against anyone who makes a report in good faith.
New employees receive training on our Code, and we assign annual compliance training to employees. We also require our distributor and agents or higher-risk vendors and suppliers to complete training on our Code. Finally, we assign role-based training to targeted groups including people managers, distributor or agent relationship managers, members of our Finance team and selected Sales groups.
Global compliance programme
Smith & Nephew has implemented a worldclass Global Compliance Programme that helps our businesses comply with laws and regulations. Our comprehensive compliance programme includes global policies and procedures; on-boarding and annual training for employees and managers; monitoring and auditing processes; reporting channels and recognition for demonstrating our values.
Through our global intranet, we provide resources and tools to guide employees to make decisions that comply both with the law and our Code. We conduct advance review and approval for significant interactions with healthcare professionals or government officials. We regularly assess existing and emerging risks in the countries in which we operate.
Managing directors are required to complete an annual certification to the CEO to confirm the implementation of required policies. Managers and employees make an annual compliance certification and conflict of interest disclosure, and executive management, managers and employees have a compliance performance objective customised to their role and seniority.
In order to reinforce our value of trust, in 2015, we implemented a programme where employees nominate their peers for actions that earn trust. Approximately 30 ‘Spotlight on Trust Certificates’ were awarded to employees from more than 10 countries. Two employees received additional recognition from the CEO.
Secondly, during our annual manager certification this year, managers were required to have an ‘ethics/compliance conversation’ with some of their direct reports. They were given centrally-created materials focusing on the importance of earning trust and then provided with specific, topic-based scenarios to discuss with their staff actions that would demonstrate this core Smith & Nephew value. This model enhanced dialogue on ethics, compliance and the importance of earning trust with our actions between managers and staff.
Finally, we launched a new face-to-face training programme for managers in the Sales & Marketing functions. The key objectives of this workshop are to teach managers how to build a culture of trust within their department and how to identify and respond appropriately to compliance questions and ethical dilemmas.
New distributors and other higher risk third parties are subject to screening and are contractually obligated to comply with applicable laws and our Code of Conduct. Compliance training and certifications are included in this process. In 2015, we created a Code of Conduct module that was designed specifically to address the needs of our distributors and agents. We also introduced Additional Compliance Standards to provide greater details on Code requirements. We continue our oversight of independent agents and distributors with on-site assessments to review compliance controls and monitor books and records.
In 2012, under the terms of the Company’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (‘FCPA’) settlement, we retained an independent monitor to review the effectiveness of our compliance programme and make recommendations, as appropriate, for further enhancements to the programme. In collaboration with the independent monitor, our programme has been enhanced even further.
In late 2013, the monitor completed his 18-month review and concluded that Smith & Nephew's compliance programme is reasonably designed and implemented to detect and prevent violations of the anti-corruption laws and is functioning effectively.
Smith & Nephew will report directly to the US Department of Justice ('DOJ') and the US Securities and Exchange Commission ('SEC') for the remainder of the three-year settlement agreement.