£2.3 million Fine Under Bribery Act. Protect Your Business!

Avoid Bribery Act headaches with a simple download

Bribery Act headaches can be avoided with a simple download
Photo by threephin Creative Commons

 

 

Consultant Sweett Group have been fined £2.25 million plus £95,000 costs at Southwark Crown Court in the first prosecution under Section 7(1) of the Bribery Act.

This is an offence of strict liability – if a business does not have “adequate procedures” designed to prevent persons associated with it from bribing a third party, then it will automatically be guilty of an offence.  And this offence can occur even if the person who offered the bribe was not an employee or not even in the UK – so it could be an overseas agent over whom you have no direct control.  Indeed, in Sweett’s case the offence occurred in the Middle East on some contracts related to the firm.

It is very easy to protect yourself from this risk – you can start by having a proper Code of Conduct or Anti-Corruption Policy in place – and that will cost you a mere £39 (excl. VAT) at ContractStore.

Thousands of small businesses do not have adequate protection – don’t be one of them – set up your Code of Conduct today!

Bribery Act UK: Is Your Business Prepared?

New UK legislation coming into force on July 1st 2011, requires companies to have “adequate procedures” to prevent corruption – i.e. a Code of Conduct – in order to avoid the risk of an offence under the new law.

ContractStore and GovRisk (The International Governance & Risk Institute) have teamed up to produce a template Code of Conduct to aid SMEs.

About the New Laws

On July 1st 2011, the Bribery Act comes into force in the UK. This new legislation is broad-ranging in its language and it covers corruption occurring abroad as well as at home. It is essential for companies to get a policy in place to show they are complying and avoid prosecution.

But many businesses have been slow to adopt appropriate policies and procedures, as they have yet to fully appreciate the seriousness of the Act’s implications.

New Offences

Under the Bribery Act 2011 there are four new offences:

  • Bribery of another person
  • Accepting a bribe
  • Bribing a foreign official
  • Failing to prevent bribery

Bribery Act: Key Facts

  • Companies as well as individuals can be prosecuted
  • The only defence to the new offence of failing to prevent bribery is to show you have “adequate procedures” in place to prevent such corruption
  • A company can be prosecuted for bribery in the UK and overseas, and for bribery by employees as well as third parties appointed by your organisation

Founder of ContractStore.com, Giles Dixon says:

“Every business should have a Code of Conduct in place which is compliant with the Act and the Guidance issued by the UK Government. Training of personnel is another important aspect of the compliance procedure.

“We are in the business of helping companies to keep legal costs down and we are concerned that this far-reaching legislation could expose many to prosecution. To support the UK SMEs that are our main customer base we’ve teamed up with GovRisk training providers to make available online a ready-to-use template Code of Conduct.

“Like all our documents, it’s clearly written in plain English, editable in Word and comes with explanatory notes.

“ContractStore’s model Code can be adapted to cater for particular circumstances, as the corruption risks for a company vary depending on the size and nature of the business and the areas of the world in which they operate, as well as the extent of your relationships with others – joint venture partners, agents, Government clients etc.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for UK businesses to get this issue sorted out quickly and easily.”

Prepared for ContractStore.com in conjunction with the GovRisk, this Code of Conduct is available for a limited period at a special introductory price of Ł27 (excludingVAT).

It can be downloaded online directly from www.contractstore.com. Specific guidance and tailoring services are also available.

The International Governance and Risk Institute (GovRisk) are holding an afternoon seminar and drinks reception on the “UK Bribery Act and its Impact on Your Business” on July 14th in London’s Canary Wharf from 4pm. The seminar will feature some of best experts in the field of Anti-Corruption and a drinks reception will follow. Registration is on a first come, first served basis as places are limited.