What is the UK Bribery Act and how can you protect your business?

UK Bribery Act

20th February 2017

What is the UK Bribery Act?

The UK Bribery Act 2010, which became law in 2011, means that the UK has some of the strictest policy concerning bribery in the world.

The Act means it is illegal for anyone connected to your business to offer, promise, give, request, agree, receive or accept any bribes whatsoever. It means all companies, regardless of location or industry, need to ensure that they have adequate anti-bribery policies in place to minimise risks.

The Act is particularly important to pay attention to if there is a larger risk that someone who works for you or on your behalf might be exposed to bribery, and your anti-bribery policy should reflect that larger risk and be appropriate to the level of risk your business faces.

Protecting your business

In a recent survey by Deloitte, a mere 10% of UK organisations had real worries about breaking the law and being penalised.

One third of companies surveyed didn’t really know how the bribery act impacted their organisation, and almost 60% weren’t really bothered about bribery whatsoever.

Unfortunately, these relaxed attitudes around bribery law don’t reflect the severity of the penalties.

A company may be liable for bribery that happens in connection with its business for bribery that takes place in connection with its business even without its knowledge, if it fails to take adequate measures to prevent it.

These rules can even apply to foreign companies that just have a presence in the UK.

Even though you may completely trust your staff and it’s easy to have an attitude of handling issues “when they arise”, The UK Bribery Act requires strong processes to be put in place in advance.

You also might not know that the UK’s legislation goes further than the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act in the US, which makes it illegal for companies to give foreign officials improper payments.

Penalties of the UK Bribery Act can include:

  1. Unlimited fines that can run in the millions of pounds;
  2. Lengthy prison sentences;
  3. And perhaps most importantly, reputations can be irrevocably damaged.

Given that the consequences of non-compliance with the UK bribery act are serious, it pays to understand it, to train your staff in it, and to create prevention policies.

Creating a prevention policy

You will not commit the offence of failing to prevent bribery if you can show that your organisation had ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent bribery.

According to a Deloitte report, these are the four core principles of an effective anti-bribery and control framework for an organisation:

1. Values and controls: A strong set of checks and balances is a necessary foundation, but process controls cannot prevent collusion or detect the actions of every rogue employee so having an ethical company culture is vital.

2. Organisation wide: An anti-bribery programme is not just the responsibility of the Compliance, Legal and Internal Audit functions – it is everyone’s responsibility.

3. Embedded: the programme must be an integral part of everyday business processes and it should not be underestimated how long this takes to achieve.

4. Co-ordinated and integrated: the best programmes involve different areas of the business communicating, interacting and sharing information to enable effective control.

Training your staff to understand and act against bribery

The official guidance from the UK government suggests “additional training or awareness raising” around bribery and the implementation of your anti-bribery policy.

Marshall E-Learning has re-released its UK Bribery Act e-learning training course to help companies train staff in understanding the UK Bribery Act and how it applies to their organisation. Although the Act has been in force for a few years, recently it has become more topical with more cases appearing in the news.

An invaluable tool for minimising risk, we see this as a useful resource for businesses of any size wishing to understand their obligations under the Act and provides clear and practical guidance for employees to ensure they have sufficient knowledge in this complex area.

Created for a variety of different learning styles, the highly interactive and engaging course offers practical, easy-to-follow guidance on keeping your organisation within the parameters of the law. It features real-life scenarios showing how the law applies to different situations and Interactive exercises throughout the course to enhance the learning process.

By the end of the course, learners will understand the difference between:

  1. Active bribery
  2. Passive bribery
  3. Bribery of foreign public officials
  4. Facilitation payments
  5. Bribery prevention failure

Our in-house developers can quickly & effectively adapt this course to your sector and organisation, giving you the option to add your own graphics, photos and video, and amend content to include your policies and procedures.

The training training can be tailored to focus on the areas of key importance to your business and we’ve updated the module to be compatible in smartphone format, so your staff can take the course wherever and whenever they prefer.

This e-learning also course comes with Marshall’s Learning Management System, which allows you to manage all your learning and track completed training along the way.

Learn more about our UK Bribery Act e-learning training course or get in touch with Marshall E-Learning if you’d like to discuss a customised, bespoke solution to your company’s anti-bribery training.

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