Ultimately, competition law is relevant to you; whether you are a member of an organisation or a consumer, competition law will have a positive impact upon you. This is because competition law is committed to ensuring that the anti-competitive behaviour conducted by businesses is penalised, in order to deter businesses in the future from pursuing such behaviour. Anti-competitive behaviour means that consumers lose out because they no longer have a wide range of choice for services, and the respective businesses in the market lose out because competition in the market is decreased. Therefore, competition law is relevant to you and it is important to be aware of all of the provisions.
Why should everyone comply with competition law?
Competition law has been created internationally in order to ensure that competition is maintained within the market, and this is because competition is needed within the market. If competition flourishes, it encourages businesses to improve their conduct and business practice in order to keep up with the competition. Consequently, the vast majority of businesses will be at their best possible standard and the consumers involved will receive the best choice of services.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is the responsible body in the UK used to enforce competition law and to monitor the conduct of businesses to ensure each business is complying with it. CMA is the body which is protecting the market and organisations such as your own from being placed at a disadvantage due to the anti-competitive behaviour conducted by others.
Is competition law relevant to you if you are part of a small and medium sized enterprise (SME)?
Yes, competition law applies to all businesses. In any free market SMEs form the largest statistical group and employ the largest number of employees, so the conduct of SMEs is particularly influential on the market.
At the end of 2016 the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued some material on how SMEs can comply with competition law, simplifying the process regarding what conduct is considered anti-competitive and which is not. This is following individuals involved in SMEs supposedly assuming that competition law only applies to large organisations and organisations which hold a dominant market position. Research conducted by TLT Solicitors found that of those involved in SMEs, 77% of the respondents stated that they did not consider competition law important as many of them had not even heard about it, and if they had it was only minimal information and exposure.
Statistics such as the above are another reason why the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have instigated a crackdown on companies which are abusing competition law. The CMA wants to ensure that competition law is widely known about within the UK, to establish a culture which is against anti-competitive behaviour. Competition law is essential for consumers and businesses to all benefit from the UK market. Therefore, it is relevant to each and every one of us.
It is important if you are part of the management team within an organisation to set the example and communicate to all employees that anti-competitive behaviour will not be stood for. To further encourage employees to comply with competition law, your organisation can establish a training programme for competition law, establishing all of the rules to employees and ensuring their compliance with competition law.