In fact the Act is significant for businesses as it creates for the first time an offence of failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery. It also creates two general offences, one of bribing another person, the other of being bribed. The final offence relates to bribing a public official.
- Read the guidance produced by the Ministry of Justice. For smaller businesses, reading the Quick Start Guide is a good place to start.
- Do a risk assessment of your business. What type of business do you do? Is the risk of becoming involved in bribery high? Do you have policies and procedures in place to prevent bribery? Do you operate abroad? These are all questions which will allow you to asses what procedures will be required for your business. The key here is that your procedures must be proportionate to the risk that you face.
- Look at your relationships with “associated persons”. Do you need to put clauses in your supply chain contracts to ensure that your suppliers, agents and sub-contractors are complying with the Act and that you have adequate procedures in place? Consider putting clauses in your standard terms and on your website about your commitment to preventing bribery.
- Review your corporate hospitality policy. What can be done and accepted by way of corporate hospitality? Keep transparent records of your hospitality expenditure.
- Create a “culture of compliance” within your business whereby everyone from management downwards buys into a zero tolerance approach to bribery. Depending upon the risk that you face this may involve staff training, a memo or a statement on your intranet. You may want to have a confidential hot-line for employees to report concerns about bribery.
- Undertake regular monitoring of the risk and keep records.