Many UK businesses and organisations may initially take the view
“The Bribery Act 2010 doesn't affect us – we don’t bribe anyone”
This act will affect all commercial organisations in the UK even though most of them do not bribe anyone. It is important to understand that the Act imposes an obligation on all commercial organisations, regardless of where it carries out its business (or any part of its business) to have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery by persons associated with them.
The term “persons associated” has a very wide meaning and includes not only employees at all levels, but agents both in the UK and abroad. Not having the procedures in place to prevent bribery is a separate offence to the bribery offences detailed in the Act. So even if you do not bribe anyone in the UK or abroad, you can be prosecuted simply because you have failed to implement adequate procedures which prevent bribery.
Aside from breaches of the Act you would also considerably weaken any defence to an allegation of bribery by not having such procedures in place. There are many areas in a commercial organisation which could come under the umbrella of the Act. Some are obvious – but some are not so obvious.
With regard to bribery the guidance covers:
Commercial organisations include charities and educational establishments if any part of their activities includes commercial activities regardless of their primary aims and objectives. Adequately assessing all areas of a commercial organisation with a view to highlighting particular areas of risk is not a task to be left to the well intended.
The last thing you want to do is find that you are exposed in certain areas because you lack the above attributes or you have misinterpreted the guidance or even the provisions of the Act itself.
Notwithstanding the fact that there is no “de minimis” level set by the Act insofar as bribery is concerned, it may be the case that small organisations may in fact have a greater risk in some areas than larger organisations. For instance, in a larger organisation the procurement of work may be governed already by a well-documented system. This may not be the case with smaller organisations who will now need to adopt (proportionate) adequate anti-bribery procedures in order to defend an allegation of bribery.
In order to ensure that you or your business or organisation are protected we will are able to assess your individual circumstances and design for you appropriate:
There is a great deal of uncertainty about the Bribery Act 2010. Hospitality and corporate entertaining is one such area which causes anxiety and concern. Whether you like it or not, the Bribery Act 2010 is here to stay. The authorities will almost certainly be looking to make examples of businesses and organisations where they feel the rules have been broken.