An essential element of corporate social responsibility is honest and transparent trading. Bribery and corruption create a disincentive to trade as well as uneven trading conditions that can damage economic systems and the individuals within them.
Under UK law, there is:
- a general offence of bribery, which 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
- an offence of bribing a foreign public official in order to win business, keep business or gain a business advantage for the organisation
- 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.
As well as having adequate procedures in place:
- if you suspect a business of corruption, inform the local authorities
- ensure you keep accurate financial records so you can demonstrate that all transactions are completed fairly and legally
Read more information on UK bribery and corruption law.