After its false start in April, the Bribery Act is finally ready to go. The new legislation will take effect on 1st July 2011 and will apply to all businesses throughout the UK (including England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).
July is still some time away, but this gives businesses the ideal opportunity to take any necessary measures now so as to ensure that everything is running smoothly once the Act comes into force.
The Bribery Act provides three offences:
1) Offering or receiving a bribe;
2) Bribing a foreign public official;
3) Failing to prevent a bribe being paid on an organisation’s behalf.
It is important to keep in mind that, although the Act applies to all businesses in the UK, context is very important. A small business offering some modest hospitality to a supplier to sweeten a deal or an international trader providing accommodation for an important foreign official with whom they must negotiate will not fall foul of the Bribery Act.
The important first step is to determine whether or not there is a risk that an employee, agent, subsidiary, partner or other person performing services on for or on behalf of your business may carry out an act which falls within the three offences. Needless to say, there is no need to cancel that order for promotional pens, or delete the telephone number of the local Premier Inn from your Blackberry!
Guidance to help you get it right
If you do establish that there may be some risk of bribery occurring, certain procedures and policies should be implemented to ensure that all within your business and those external parties providing services for you are aware of the risks and offences associated with bribery.
Under Section 9 of the Bribery Act, the Secretary of State is required to publish guidance for businesses to aid in their compliance with the Act. This guidance has now been published and Simply-docs, in turn, has prepared a set of guidance notes – available through the links on the right.
These guidance notes have been written based upon government guidance, and aim to explain to businesses in a clear fashion how exactly the Bribery Act will apply to them and what steps they should take in order to comply with its various provisions and principles.
For the first time, company policies are arriving in the Business folder! Already popular in our Employment documents folder, Business subscribers now have access to two key policy documents that will assist in compliance with the Bribery Act. Fully up-to-date with best practice and indeed the Bribery Act itself, two policies – the Corporate Ethics Policy and the Hospitality & Gifts Policy are now available. Available in the Business folder through the links on the right, these policy document templates are also available to subscribers to our Employment documents folder.
Expenses Policy Coming Soon
Expenses and Hospitality often go hand-in-hand and for this reason, prior to the entry into force of the Bribery Act in July, Simply-docs will soon be releasing an all-new Expenses Policy in both the Business and Employment folders. Further information on this will be released soon!
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute
legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific