17 September 2010

The Ministry of Justice have published a consultation to seek views on guidance the government proposes to publish under section 9 of the Bribery Act 2010 before the Act comes into force in April 2011.  

The consultation period will last 8 weeks until 8 November, shorter than the standard 12 week period in order to allow enough time for views to be considered and for guidance to be published early in the New Year.

The objective of the Government in providing guidance under section 9 of the Act is to support businesses in determining the sorts of bribery prevention measures they can put in place.

The Government proposes guidance formulated around six general principles (see below), designed to be of general applicability across all sectors and for all types and size of business. It is not intended to be prescriptive or standard setting, or impose any direct obligation on business.


·         Risk Assessment -  this is about knowing and keeping up to date with the bribery risks you face in your sector and market;


·         Top level commitment - this concerns establishing a culture across the organisation in which bribery is unacceptable. If your business is small or medium sized this may not require much sophistication but the theme is making the message clear, unambiguous and regularly made to all staff and business partners;


·         Due diligence - this is about knowing who you do business with; knowing why, when and to whom you are releasing funds and seeking reciprocal anti-bribery agreements ;and being in a position to feel confident that business relationships are transparent and ethical;


·         Clear, Practical and Accessible Policies and Procedures - this concerns applying them to everyone you employ and business partners under your effective control and covering all relevant risks such as political and charitable contributions, gifts and hospitality, promotional expenses, and responding to demands for facilitation demands or when an allegation of bribery comes to light.


·         Effective implementation - this is about going beyond ‘paper compliance’ to embedding anti-bribery in your organisation’s internal controls, recruitment and remuneration policies, operations, communications and training on practical business issues.


·         Monitoring and review - this relates to auditing and financial controls that are sensitive to bribery and are transparent, considering how regularly you need to review your policies and procedures, and whether external verification would help.

A response to this consultation exercise is due to be published in early 2011 alongside the final version of the guidance. It is anticipated that the Act will be implemented in April 2011.