Bribery Act

The Bribery Act 2010 introduces new legislation that all firms must comply with. Despite Government guidance, the passing of the Act has created more questions than answers as to how to comply with the new legislation in an effective manner. We will work with you, if necessary, to develop a bribery and corruption strategy


What is covered by the Act?

The Act is concerned with bribery. Very generally, this is defined as giving someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly or to reward that person for having already done so. So this could cover seeking to influence a decision-maker by giving some kind of extra benefit to that decision maker rather than by what can legitimately be offered as part of a tender process.

The Act is not concerned with fraud, theft, books and record offences, Companies Act offences, money laundering offences or competition law.


When could my organisation be liable?

Your organisation could be liable if a very senior person in the organisation (for example, a managing director) commits a bribery offence. This person’s activities would then be attributed to the organisation.

Your organisation could also be liable where someone who performs services for it – like an employee or agent – pays a bribe specifically to get business, keep business, or gain a business advantage for your organisation. But you will have a full defence for this particular offence, and can avoid prosecution.


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There is a full defence if you can show you had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery. But you do not need to put bribery prevention procedures in place if there is no risk of bribery on your behalf. Hospitality is not prohibited by the Act. Facilitation payments are bribes under the Act just as they are under the old law.

Adequate bribery prevention procedures ought to be proportionate to the bribery risks that a company faces and a company still must assess these risks so an initial assessment of risk across the company is, therefore, a necessary first step. However, proportionality is overlaid above and across all the remaining Principles so if a company has a low risk profile, it may not need as robust an anti-bribery compliance program as a company with a higher risk profile.

We will help with the analysis of your business, to consider procurement, bribes, political contributions, charitable contributions and sponsorships and facilitation payments. We will then help you with the risk analysis of your business relationships including joint ventures, subsidiaries and other entities, agents, intermediaries, contractors and suppliers.

We can then assist you to scope your programme based on best practice, including training for directors, staff, agents, contractors and suppliers and the communication of your strategy to staff and of your internal controls and record keeping.

Contact us to discuss your firms’ particular concerns