Those of you in Licensing have heard me talk about the difference between compliance and enforcement more than once, but I’ve never written about it. Some people are confused about the distinction I always make between compliance and enforcement. They are 2 very different things. Compliance (as it relates to our licensees) means that a facility or person in general accord with our requirements while enforcement is an action that we occasionally reluctantly take in order to get a facility into compliance.
In other words, our goal is always compliance, while we never have a goal of enforcement. The most cost effective way to achieve compliance is to provide clear and understandable customer assistance, provide general education during on-site surveys, set clear expectations of our licensees, and work effectively with our licensees and associations to find out what’s working and what’s not. At the end of the line, when customer assistance, education and clarity aren’t enough to get compliance on important health and safety criteria, we sometimes need to resort to enforcement actions to move a licensee into compliance. The bottom line is that it’s the least cost-effective tool in our toolbox.