Bribery Act and banking – By Claus Andersen, Corporate Department
Towards, the end of last year I gave a presentation on the Bribery Act to a number of wholesale and retail customers of a leading high street bank. The Act, which came into force on 1 July 2011, prohibits the offering and receiving of bribes.
Whilst most people would not dream of intentionally offering or taking a bribe, the Act is drafted so widely that it touches anyone doing business in the UK.
A particular problem is that the Act in reality requires businesses to put in place adequate procedures to prevent their 1) employees and 2) other business partners (such as consultants and agents) from breaching the Act. The penalty for breaching the Act is up to 10 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
To many people “putting in place adequate procedures” sounds like yet another bureaucratic obstacle for business. However, it is much more straightforward than it sounds.
The practical way to go about this is to draw up an “Anti-Bribery Policy”. Such a policy should reflect the risks the business faces in terms of bribery and could include issues such as:
1) how you deal with payments to public authorities, business partners and others;
2) the giving and receiving of gifts;
3) corporate hospitality;
4) facilitation payments; and
5) whistle blowing arrangements.
Once the policy has been prepared, policy compliance must be monitored and the employees must receive training in the policy and in the Act in general.
Finally, the policy must from time to time be reviewed to make sure that it continues to address the risks which the business faces in relation to bribery.
For further information please contact Claus Andersen on telephone 0044 (0)20 7842 1462 or email firstname.lastname@example.org