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Model 231: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

Introduction to Model 231

Legislative Decree 231 of June 8, 2001, also known as Model 231, represents a milestone in Italian legislation. For the first time, it introduces criminal liability for certain crimes committed by legal entities or by individuals with a direct relationship with a collective entity. The goal is to ensure that such crimes do not procure a direct advantage or interest for the entity.

What is Model 231?

Model 231 is an organizational and management model, not mandatory, which can be adopted by all companies, regardless of their size. Its adoption allows companies to exclude or limit their liability arising from crimes committed by their employees if the model is correctly implemented.

Benefits of Implementing Model 231

Compiling a Model 231 allows the application of a comprehensive and effective control system within the company, preventing behaviors that fall within the categories of offenses described by the decree. In case of violations, the company can protect itself by avoiding monetary or interdictory sanctions.

Steps to Avoid Sanctions

  1. Adoption of Model 231: Adoption of organizational models conforming to Legislative Decree 231/2001.
  2. Rigorous Application: Ensuring that these models are rigorously applied, a task entrusted to the Supervisory Body.
  3. Continuous Updating: Frequently updating the model to keep it valid and effective.

Constructing a Model 231

Analysis of the Business Reality

To construct an ad hoc Model 231, start with a thorough analysis of the business reality. This allows addressing all specific needs of the work context. The key is to understand which crimes the company might face, determining the actual exposure through “sensitive area mapping.”

Interview Tool

Interviews with key figures in the company’s organizational chart help identify all risk activities. After this phase, checks are arranged to cover areas not yet protected by a proper procedural scheme.

Supervisory Body

According to Legislative Decree 231/2001, it is necessary to set up a Supervisory Body to conduct checks on the model’s effectiveness, identify any weaknesses, and propose targeted corrections.

Characteristics of Model 231

General and Special Parts

Each Model 231 consists of two main parts:

  • General Part: Describes the characteristics of the entity, providing an overview of its activities and competencies.
  • Special Part: Describes specific categories of crimes for the company and maps the risk percentage of their commission.

Code of Ethics and Disciplinary System

The model also includes a list of behavioral rules, forming the entity’s Code of Ethics and Disciplinary System. The Supervisory Body operates within this mechanism to protect the company from administrative liability.

A Dynamic Model

Model 231 is not a static protocol but a dynamic and continuously evolving tool. It becomes an essential protection means for any complex organization, providing channels for reporting illegal activities and applying sanctions to those who violate the rules.


Adopting Model 231 is a crucial step for companies seeking to protect themselves from criminal liability for offenses committed by their employees. Implementing and maintaining this model is essential to ensure an effective control system and adequate legal protection.