The Act applies to individuals committing an act in the UK, and individuals committing an act outside the UK where the action or omissions would have been an offense if carried out in the UK. It also applies provided that the individual undertaking the offense has a “close connection” with the UK. A “close connection” can include individuals who are UK residents, UK businesses, or British citizens. The corporate offense only applies to legal persons working for a business, or part of a business in the UK, although the offense does not need to have occurred in the UK in order to fall foul of the Act.
Any business operating anywhere in the world that conducts all or part of its business in the UK, can be liable under the Act. Being found guilty can mean unlimited fines, potential personal liability, imprisonment and ban on bidding for public European contracts.
According to the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the World Bank estimates that the value of bribes paid every year around the globe totals more than $1 trillion or 3 percent of global GDP.
There is no doubt that ensuring “adequate procedures” are in place is a key factor to mitigating the risk of liability under the Bribery Act. The UK Ministry of Justice’s guidance outlines six key principles set out what would be considered as “adequate procedures” are as follows: 1) proportionate procedures, 2) top level commitment, 3) risk assessment, 4) due diligence, 5) effective implementation and 6) monitoring and review. The principles were issued to guide businesses towards developing a sound compliance program that could help them avoid liability under the Bribery Act and other international anti-corruption legislation.
The “proportionate procedures” and “risk assessment” principles advise that measures put in place should be proportional to the risk faced. In order to ensure that the risks are fully understood, they should also carry out risk assessments. These two principles have been among the most important over the past year since the Bribery Act was enacted.
According to Deloitte’s Anti-Corruption poll of 1,200 business professionals, 24.2 percent have changed their anti-corruption programs to comply with various anti-corruption regulations. This is an indicator that the principle of “due diligence” is being applied. According to the Ministry of Justice, “due diligence” should also be applied in response to any assessed risks.
The Ministry of Justice adds that there should be “top-level commitment” to anti-corruption practices. The principles of “effective implementation” and “monitoring and review” recommend a high level of communication in providing training of compliance practices and procedures and along with ongoing monitoring and review of the effectiveness of any program.
Without high-quality and proper translation, businesses may struggle to provide evidence that they have “adequate procedures” in place. Businesses can take advantage of high-quality translation services in developing compliance programmes through training and e-learning. Any organisation with a global workforce needs to ensure they are well-versed in how to identify and avoid situations that could be interpreted as breaching legislation.
Working with a qualified translation services provider such as Merrill Brink International, which offers expertise in translation services and support to a wide range of sectors can help businesses ensure global compliance with the Act. A qualified language service provider (LSP) can support in translating training materials and new business policies.
As businesses look forward to another year, working with a translation provider that understands compliance issues will help them implement thorough training and e-learning programs to support compliance and limit their exposure to risk under the UK Bribery Act.
This article originally appeared on Virtual