For many organisations, corporate hospitality is a normal part of everyday operations. However, expenses, gifts and incentives can all be used to unfairly influence business partners, clients and contractors. So, when does a gift become a bribe and when might you fall foul of the law?
Taking an ethical approach to business is not just a way of protecting your reputation, but also a legal obligation.
Criminal offences under the UK Bribery Act 2010 include:
Moreover, offences can be committed by any organisation or individual that has links to the UK, regardless of where in the world the offence was committed.
Penalties for offering, promising, giving, requesting, agreeing, receiving or accepting bribes range from ten years’ imprisonment and unlimited fines to disqualification as a company director and the seizure of assets.
Fortunately, the Ministry of Justice’s Quick start guide to the Bribery Act states that “There is a full defence if you can show you had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.”
Adequate procedures might include:
Implementing an ABMS (anti-bribery management system), especially one aligned with the international anti-bribery standard ISO 37001, will ensure these procedures become part of business as usual for your organisation and help you maintain its integrity.
Help your employees identify what a bribe looks like and how to avoid one with our Anti-Bribery Staff Awareness E-Learning Course.
Drawing on best-practice guidance from ISO 37001, it covers: