Chain of Responsibility (CoR) legislation extends the general liability for offences to road freight consignors, receivers, packers and loaders. Rather than pursue the ‘soft target’ on the roadside – truck drivers and operators – authorities can investigate along the supply chain and up and down the corporate chain of command.   The days of ‘all care and no responsibility’ are over. This guide sets out some basic steps road freight users should consider to ‘protect’ against prosecution.

CoR Compliance at each stage of the process must be completed accounting for factors that inhibit effective risk management which can include:

  • a lack of support for a risk management culture from executive management
  • a lack of time and resources allocated to risk management
  • difficulty in identifying and assessing emerging risks, especially cross-agency risks
  • a lack  of  independent  assurance  over  the  effectiveness  of  the  risk  management framework
  • a lack of clarity over risk ownership and the responsibility for risk management
  • over- or under-treatment of risks, and unnecessarily complex risk documentation
  • lack of training and credentialing within a business unit

Organisations must drive risk management through commitment from executive management by encouraging a strong organisational culture and awareness of risk, analysis and a total an organisational approach that ensures they are able to overcome the factors which inhibit effective risk management.

Risk is an ever present element of public policy, government and general service delivery issue for organisations. Their effective risk management should enable agencies to have increased confidence that they can deliver the required services, manage risks and threats to an acceptable degree, and make informed decisions about opportunities and challenges they face without breaching Chain of Responsibility Legislation.

In the context of risk management systems, organisation must have a strong process of identifying, treating and managing risks across the entire spectrum of the organisation and its interfacing contractors.  Risks that need to be identified and managed include:

  • business strategic and operational risks which are managed by individual business units, but which may become risks for the organisation, due to their size or significance
  • cross-organisational risks,  where  a  risk  relates  to  more  than  one  business unit (for  example, collaborative projects) and requires treatment by multiple areas to be effective
  • whole-of-business risks which are beyond the boundaries of any one unit or project due to their magnitude and/or impact on service delivery, and which call for a response across units, contractors and their sub-contractors, would require a co-ordinated approach by a central unit or by a lead unit

Subsequently as Whole-of-Business / Organisational approaches to business and project management are becoming more common, as there is an increased awareness of the need to manage risks at all interfacing levels.

The laws are likely to be expanded in the future for fatigue, speeding and vehicle standards. Penalties and sanctions range from formal warnings to court- imposed fines and penalties relating to the commercial benefit derived from offences. Supervisory intervention orders and prohibition orders banning individuals from the industry can be applied to ‘persistent or systematic’ offenders.