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Bribery Act Guidance Released from the Ministry of Justice

The long-awaited Guidance from the Ministry of Justice on the implementation of the Bribery Act has finally been released.   The Bribery Act, originally set to come into force next week but postponed, primarily due to confusion surrounding the interpretation of the rules for corporate entertaining, will now become law from July this year.

The Guidance gives practical advice on how the provisions of the Act should be interpreted for all types of businesses from SMEs to multinational corporations and includes a number of specific case studies which should prove helpful to businesses in the initial stages of implementation.
The original principle of ‘Adequate Procedures’ contained in the draft guidance has been amended to ‘Proportionate Procedures’ highlighting the difference between the approaches required by SMEs and multinationals.  The principle of ‘Effective Implementation’ has also been relaxed slightly to become ‘Communications and Training’.   
 
In essence, the published guidelines are intended to be flexible and proportionate to risk allowing for the huge variety of circumstances that commercial organisations find themselves in. 

 
BRIBERY ACT GUIDANCE
THE SIX PRINCIPLES:
 
1.             Proportionate procedures
“A commercial organisation’s procedures to prevent bribery by persons associated with it are proportionate to the bribery risks it faces and to the nature, scale and complexity of the commercial organisation’s activities. They are also clear, practical accessible, effectively implemented and enforced.”
 
2.             Top-level commitment
“The top-level management of a commercial organisation (be it board of directors, the owners or any other equivalent body or person) are committed to preventing bribery by persons associated with it. They foster a culture within the organisation in which bribery is never acceptable.”
 
3.             Risk Assessment
“The commercial organisation assesses the nature and extent of its exposure to potential external and internal risks of bribery on its behalf by persons associated with it. The assessment is periodic, informed and documented.”
 
4.             Due diligence
“The commercial organisation applies due diligence procedures, taking a proportionate and risk based approach, in respect of persons who perform or will perform services for or on behalf of the organisation, in order to mitigate identified bribery risks.”
 
5.             Communication (including training)
“The commercial organisation seeks to ensure that its bribery prevention policies and procedures are embedded and understood throughout the organisation through internal and external communication, including training, that is proportionate to the risks it faces.”
 
6.             Monitoring and review
“The commercial organisation monitors and reviews procedures designed to prevent bribery by persons associated with it and makes improvements where necessary.”

 
In addition to the full Guidance, the Ministry of Justice is also publishing a non-statutory ‘quick-start’ guide aimed at giving a concise introduction to small businesses as to how they can meet the requirements of the law.
 
If you require any assistance in amending your company policies, contracts and other documents to ensure compliance with the Bribery Act please do not hesitate to contact us.
 
We are also able to provide in-house training on the requirements of The Bribery Act 2010 and how to ensure your company’s compliance. For further information please contact us on 0151 647 8862 or email melroberts@kerrigans.net.

07/12

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