Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010 ("the Act") came into effect today!

One of the main concerns has been how corporate hospitality would be dealt with and what would be the impact upon businesses. The Ministry of Justice guidance stipulates that the Act is not intended to criminalise bona fide hospitality designed to improve a business' image, make others aware of its products and services or assist in the development of relationships which are an integral part of doing business.

What you obviously cannot do is use corporate hospitality as a lever to secure work for your business and corporate hospitality must be reasonable and proportionate to the size and nature of the business. A business must have adequate procedures in place to prevent itself falling foul of the corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery. These procedures are based upon six principles as set out in the guidance:-

1.Proportionate Procedures
The higher the risk of bribery the greater the steps that must be taken to mitigate its risk. The procedures need to be proportionate to the bribery risk faced by the business given its size, geographical area, business model and its market sector.

2.Senior Management Commitment
Senior management must be involved in the prevention of bribery. In large organisations this may mean the board setting and reviewing policies and in the smaller organisations, the proprietor.

3.Risk Assessment
Senior management should be involved in the process of regularly identifying areas of the business, transactions, and indeed individuals who are at the greatest risk. A record should be kept of these results.

4.Due Diligence
There is a continuing obligation to review the processes and who business is done with.

There must be clear anti-bribery policies and procedures disseminated to members and employees of the business and a culture enabling these people to raise concerns about bribery should be engendered.

6.Monitoring and Review
Bribery policies need to be reviewed as a business develops.

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