Anti bribery act

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The Anti-bribery Act

The 2010 Anti Bribery Act lays out what can be considered to be a bribery offence.

It requires businesses, where there is a risk that someone who works for you or on
your behalf might be exposed to bribery, regardless of their size to have a policy in place.

There are four categories within the act:
  • Offering, promising or giving a bribe;
  • Receiving or accepting a bribe;
  • Bribing a foreign public official;
  • Failure by a corporate body to prevent bribery.
A small business which is a limited company may be found guilty of the latter offence if it fails to prevent an employee, contractor, agent or advisor from bribing a third party in order to procure some benefit for the company.  However, the company may successfully defend a charge of failure to prevent bribery if it can show that it had in place sufficient procedures to prevent such an act taking place.

For your business to be able to defend itself against allegations of bribery, you need to have adequate preventative measures in place.  Six principles have been published by the Ministry of Justice to help you do this:

Any action a business takes should be proportionate to its size and the risks faced.

Top-level commitment
There must be a clear commitment in the management structure of the organisation to counter bribery.

Risk assessment
Businesses must undertake regular and comprehensive assessments of the internal and external risks they face, the nature and frequency of which can vary.

Due diligence
Knowing exactly the parties a business deals with can help to protect an organisation from taking on people who might be less than trustworthy. As such, businesses are required to implement suitable due diligence methods and appropriate preventative measures.

Businesses must make clear the basis on which business is done, and communicate all practical policies to staff.

Monitoring and review
Anti-bribery policies must be viewed as dynamic and not static. This means that policies must be reviewed and updated regularly.

The full Act can be accessed here


Disclaimer: this article is only intended as an overview of the legislation. You must always check directly with HMRC, ACAS or your own legal consultant for further information.