Your business may need to have a procedure in place to prevent acts of bribery.
You will only need such a procedure if - following an assessment - there is a risk that an agent, subsidiary or other person performing services for your business might carry out such acts.
Under UK law, there is a general offence of bribery, and of bribing a foreign official. Bribery is defined as giving someone a financial or other advantage to induce them to perform their functions or activities improperly, or to reward them for having already done so.
In addition, there is an offence relating to failure by a business to prevent a person associated with it from committing the above offences on its behalf in order to win business, keep business or gain a business advantage for the organisation.
You will have a statutory defence to the last of these offences if your business has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery on your behalf.
To prevent bribery - and have a defence in case a charge of bribery is made against you - you should:
- assess whether your business is at risk and, if so, the level of that risk
- have an anti-bribery policy in place containing procedures proportionate to the risk you have identified, the scope and size of your business, and the country/countries in which you do business
- use due diligence to assess who you are dealing with and who you appoint to represent you
- communicate, train and raise awareness among employees and business partners
- monitor and review your procedures
Your anti-bribery policy should:
- include a clear prohibition of the offer, gift or acceptance of bribes
- detail the procedures that should be followed during business transactions
- give guidance on the provision of gifts, hospitality or expenses that may influence the outcome of business transactions
- provide guidance on political and charitable donations, including a prohibition of the payment of donations to political parties or charities that are directly linked to obtaining new business or gaining a business advantage
- require that any donations made in good faith are publicly disclosed
Note that the following are not considered acts of bribery:
- providing genuine business hospitality
- carrying out proportionate and reasonable promotional activities