Every business needs an anti-corruption programme
Four new offences and a more effective anti-bribery framework are to be the main features of the new Bribery Act 2010, which comes into force later this year and covers organisations in both the public and private sectors.
The Act represents a major move away from the current fragmented laws covering bribery and corruption, and places obligations on organisations to have strong anti-corruption procedures in place. Having adequate procedures means that companies could escape liability for the potentially corrupt activities of its employees.
The new offences involve two concerning the payment and receipt of bribes, covering promising, offering, agreeing to or requesting them. There is also a separate offence of bribing foreign officials, and corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery.
As well as setting up a full anti-corruption programme and addressing their corporate governance, risk management, procurement and other procedures, organisations will also need to create a whistle-blowing resource, gifts and a hospitality policy and register.
This is an important and wide-ranging new piece of legislation with very serious implications for organisations of all types, meaning that owners, directors and senior managers need to be familiar with its demands and implications. Click on ‘More information’ to seek advice from one of our commercial solicitors if you are unsure how to proceed.
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