The Bribery Act 2010 ? A Brief Guide to Compliance for Businesses
Established as part of UK law in July 2011, The Bribery Act 2010 makes it a criminal offence for anybody acting on behalf of a business to dishonestly influence the actions of others by offering them some form of reward.
An individual found guilty of bribery or corruption may face a prison sentence of up to ten years and/or an unlimited fine depending upon the severity of the crime. If the company for which the individual worked is found to be complicit in the act of bribery or corruption, or has failed to implement adequate measures to prevent the crime, it may also incur an unlimited fine.
Clearly it is incumbent upon business leaders and owners to ensure that they fully understand and comply with this legislation. Respected leadership training providers Maguire Training offer a comprehensive course which covers all aspects of The Bribery Act 2010. Delegates will learn precisely what constitutes bribery and corruption; gain an understanding of their legal obligations and acquire the knowledge and strategies needed to identify and appropriately deal with bribery.
To help businesses of all sizes to protect themselves as much as possible from allegations of bribery and corruption, the British government outlines six key principles which, implemented in conjunction, constitute ?adequate measures? and can be cited in a company?s defence.
In brief, the six principles which a business needs to adopt in order show that it has taken appropriate measures to prevent acts of bribery and corruption are:
- The implementation of proportionate anti-bribery policy and procedure
Businesses should conduct a risk assessment to establish the likely possibility of bribery and corruption occurring and implement procedures proportionate to this risk and to the size and nature of the business. Areas that anti-bribery policy needs to address may include staff training, corporate hospitality, financial management and accountancy, how suspected bribery or corruption should be reported and the disciplinary action that will be faced by employees involved in acts of bribery or corruption.
- Provide evidence of commitment to bribery prevention from the top down
The Government suggests that a commitment to zero-tolerance of bribery and corruption, demonstrable from leadership level downwards, is a company?s best approach to tackling the issue. This commitment might, for example, encompass appropriate training for business leaders and managers, the assignment of responsibility for bribery prevention to a particular person and the issuing of formal documentation to all staff outlining the organisation?s anti-bribery position and the consequences for employees who breach policy.
- Undertake periodic risk assessment
Businesses of all sizes should undertake and document periodic risk assessments to ensure that ongoing training needs are met and that anti-bribery policy and procedure remains relevant and effective as the organisation changes and evolves.
- Perform due diligence in respect of ?associated persons?
An ?associated person? is anyone who performs or provides a service for an organisation. Therefore a company?s employees, consultants, business partners and suppliers might all fit the definition of ?associated persons?. To mitigate the possibility of bribery and corruption involving these parties, businesses are advised to conduct appropriate due diligence where there is any suspicion of risk.
- Communicate appropriately
In order to satisfy this principle an organisation should take the necessary action to ensure that every employee is made aware of the anti-bribery and corruption stance, has the information and training they needed to comply with it, understands the policy and procedure surrounding it, and understands the consequences of contravention. Communication and reinforcement at all levels should be an ongoing process.
- Monitor, review and adapt policy and procedure as necessary
Bribery and corruption can take many different forms and are ever-present threats to business. As such the creation and implementation of anti-bribery policies and procedures cannot be regarded as a one-off ?box-ticking? exercise. Processes should be reviewed in accordance with changing business circumstances and any that are ineffective should be adapted or discarded, whilst new or better ways of detecting and dealing with bribery should be implemented.
For their own protection businesses of all sizes must comply with the Bribery Act 2010; as with any point of law ignorance is no defence. Business leaders and owners can ensure their own understanding and compliance by obtaining practical knowledge and advice from Maguire Training. For additional convenience, the Bribery Act 2010 module can be obtained as online training via Maguire Training?s user-friendly and innovative E-learning system.