ILO Approach to Strategic Compliance Planning for Labour Inspectorates

In today’s world of work, the traditional enforcement model – reactive and routine inspections – is no longer sufficient to achieve effective and efficient enforcement and sustained compliance with national and international labour norms.

The number of workplaces subject to inspection dwarfs the resources available to inspect them, leading to a situation in which workers are unprotected, violators operate with impunity, and unfair competition for compliant businesses pervades.

Additionally, the growth of non-standard forms of employment, global supply chains, and the introduction of new technologies, which enable new business models and give rise to new work-related hazards, outpace the evolution of the legal authority and enforcement tools available to the labour inspectorate; as a consequence, its enforcement levers are mismatched to the influences driving non-compliance. Where limited or declining union membership and affiliation weaken trade unions’ counterbalance to employers in relation to working conditions, greater responsibility is placed on the labour inspectorate to promote the demand for compliance, as well as to achieve it.

The emerging strategic compliance model – proactive, targeted, and tailored interventions engaging multiple stakeholders – provides the labour inspectorate with a new methodology to achieve compliance outcomes in light of limited resources, mismatched powers and a need to shoulder greater responsibility for promoting compliance in the ever-evolving world of work.

To enable all labour inspectorates to apply the strategic compliance model, the LABADMIN/OSH Branch of the ILO’s Governance and Tripartism Department, developed the ILO approach to strategic compliance planning for institutions of work – a six-step exercise to formulate, sequence and operationalize broader thinking and action, that will help labour inspectorates and other institutions attain the goal of sustained compliance. The flexible and dynamic nature of this exercise allows labour inspectorates to develop a short-term inspection strategy for a discreet compliance issue, or to come up with a comprehensive proactive compliance strategy targeting multiple compliance priorities for a long-term inspection plan; it also covers contingencies that fall between these two extremes.

See more information about the ILO Approach to Strategic Compliance Planning for Labour Inspectorates.   

Further information on the ILO strategic compliance tool and workshop for labour inspectorates may be obtained from the Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch (LABADMIN/OSH), International Labour Office, Geneva.