Anyone for tennis?
Posted by: John Toppin - Nomizon Associates
Date added: Tue 10 May 2011
The Act creates the offences of offering or receiving bribes and of failure to prevent a bribe being paid on behalf of an organisation. Creative businesses customarily entertain clients and prospective clients, so what constitutes a bribe and what should companies be doing about the Bribery Act?
The Act, which comes into force on July 1st this year, clarifies an old and confusing set of bribery laws. The Act says that companies will be responsible for all corruption undertaken by staff unless they could show that they had put adequate procedures in place to prevent it. Business pressure has resulted the government producing guidance on how the Act will work.
The guidance says that "Bona fide hospitality and promotional, or other business expenditure which seeks to improve the image of a commercial organisation, better to present products and services, or establish cordial relations, is recognised as an established and important part of doing business and it is not the intention of the Act to criminalise such behaviour."
The guidance clarifies what is meant by adequate procedures to be adopted by companies and say that this would be considered in the light of the size and kind of company involved. "Small organisations are unlikely to need procedures that are as extensive as those of a large multi-national organisation," says the guidance.
"A very small business may be able to rely heavily on periodic oral briefings to communicate its policies while a large one may need to rely on extensive written communication." Ken Clarke says that "Modest risks require modest procedures to mitigate them,"
"Small companies ought not fear that they will suddenly need an army of lawyers in order to manage bribery risks." says Clarke.
John Toppin - Nomizon Associateshttp://www.nomizon.co.uk
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