DO YOU KNOW ABOUT “THE BRIBERY ACT 2010” ?
The Bribery Act 2010 became law on 1 July 2011, however within months there was a prosecution!! If nothing else, it tells us that the authorities are taking the new legislation to heart! Apparently it is the world’s toughest piece of anti-bribery legislation.
And…..now to add to the pressure, the authorities have launched “SFO Confidential”. This new service allows an employee (and others) to anonymously “blow the whistle” if they have suspicions (or not) about bribery. However, some “tip offs” I suspect could be spurious, and the investigations that could follow will not only be time consuming but very costly due to the unsettling nature caused by the disruption.
The way to counter any investigation and avoid incurring unnecessary costs is to ensure you have in place an extremely robust Anti Bribery Policy and also make quite certain there has been adequate training to ALL staff, so that no one is left in any doubt as to their own responsibilities with regard to this new legislation. I say this because:-
The main provisions of the Act are:-
- An offence of active bribery, which prohibits giving, promising or offering a bribe, It applies to both private and public sectors.
- An offence of passive bribery, which prohibits requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting a bribe. It also applies to both private and public sectors.
- An offence of bribing a foreign public official.
- An offence, known as the corporate offence, which is committed by a commercial organisation where a person performing services on the organisation’s behalf, e.g. an employee, pays a bribe to obtain or retain a business advantage for the organisation.
I would advise all companies to complete a Bribery Act 2010 Checklist. The aim of the checklist is to ensure that your company and “associated persons” don’t fall foul of the Act. The object of this exercise is to ensure that any steps you take are proportionate and reasonable to the risk of bribery that you may face as a company and it is also a way of ensuring you maintain transparency throughout.