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Risk-based approach critical in protecting country's borders, fostering compliance

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

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As the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) continues its thrust to improve efficiency and service delivery, the organisation has boosted its capacity to identify and combat risks that could serve to undermine its border protection capabilities and the country's security.

In this regard, in addition to cargo imaging (non-intrusive, intrusive inspections), intelligence-gathering, and the surveillance activities of the Contraband Enforcement and Sufferance Wharves teams, the JCA has taken a risk-based approach in protecting the country's borders, whilst encouraging compliance.

So, what is risk management?

What are the benefits of using a risk-based approach?

How does it impact border protection?

How does it foster compliance?

The success of Customs administrations worldwide depends on an effective risk management system. The Risk Management Unit of the Jamaica Customs Agency is responsible for implementing risk management plans and processes which involve gathering and collating information; identifying, analysing and reporting areas of risk; developing targets and profiles; establishing and maintaining a risk management database; and monitoring the application of risk management remedies across the agency.

The Agency's

The risk-based approach adopted by the JCA emphasises that border protection has to remain a priority, while facilitating the legitimate movement of cargo and passengers. The risk-based approach is primarily data-driven, as data analysis is critical to the risk-management process. The purpose of risk analysis is to separate low risks from high risks and to provide data to assist in the assessment and treatment of the risks identified.

Risk Management Impacting Border Protection and Fostering Compliance

The JCA has placed risk management at the heart of its operations and has formulated an Agency Risk Management Policy (2014) in order to ensure that practices are aligned with the Revised Kyoto Convention and other international benchmark guidelines, such as the World Customs Organisation's SAFE Framework of Standards and the Revised Arusha Declaration.

The JCA's Risk Management Policy (2014) involves the following:

* Application of risk-management techniques which will strengthen the resilience of the organisation and ensure integrity and ethics standards are upheld. It allows the agency to use risk-based information to make strategic and proactive decisions.

* Implementation of a structure that supports risk management and which ensures that employees have a clear understanding of the nature of the risks in their areas, and are able to systematically identify, analyse, prioritise and develop treatment programmes to mitigate those risks.

* Provision of suitable and timely training for staff.

* Adoption of the latest customs technologies, automation of key Customs processes and increased reliance on effective post-clearance audit techniques.

* Use of non-intrusive examination techniques, such as cargo imaging (screening) and the use of profiling of high-risk cargo and passengers. Another mechanism is the application of a uniformed approach to risk management, such as the Risk Register Template.

* Fostering compliance, through simplification and automation of processes, through the revamped Authorised Economic Operator programme and the implementation of the Customs Automated System, allowing for greater predictability and faster processing of cargo.

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