Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010 was designed to create a level field in which businesses operate; there are four main criminal offences under the Act

The first three offences relate to individuals, the fourth a new strict liability offence for companies and partnerships for failing to prevent bribery.

Bribery can be viewed an invitation or inducement to act improperly for financial or like reward but it does not have to be demonstrated by an actual invitation and can be construed by behaviour.

• The first two offences relate to the bribery of another person – an offer or promise to provide financial or other advantage or alternatively, requesting, agreeing or receiving financial or other advantage
• The bribery of a foreign public official

Section 7 of the Act details the offence of a failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery being paid, on its behalf, to obtain or retain business or a business advantage. If the offence is committed by an employee, allegedly on behalf of a business, the business will have a statutory defence if it has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.

Likewise, a conspiracy count occurs if a business or an employee of a business accepts a bribe to obtain or retain business or obtain a business advantage. Conspiracy is an agreement to act unlawfully or an agreement to complete a lawful act unlawfully.

“Adequate procedures” is not defined within the legislation but “adequate” could be construed to be in line with the size of the business or the risk the business faces in relation to potential cases of bribery.

As far as relates to the motor trade, a simplistic example would be a manufacturer’s employee paying a sales director money or providing payment in kind to agree to a certain number of pre-registrations.

Another simplistic example would be a used car salesman, within a business, receiving payment from a trader to encourage the trader to purchase future vehicles from the dealership (and of course, at the same time, line his pocket).

An example of behaviour resulting in potential bribery would be a manufacturers’ warranty auditor presenting his car to a dealership prior to an audit and having it serviced and parts provided both free of charge, in the expectation by the dealership, the charge-back fees will be reduced. If the full offence could not be substantiated, most certainly, there would be an invitation to consider attempted bribery on behalf of the dealership.

Anti-bribery policy and training is essential in all businesses, where there is the potential for bribery but the level of training has to be commensurate with the potential risk. At any level, it will be quite insufficient to address the problem by the simple expedient of a memorandum to staff; to take advantage of the statutory defence, a business has to demonstrate a policy to prevent bribery. In itself, a policy document will be insufficient, unless staff have had some rudimentary training and understand the concept of bribery and the purpose of the legislation.

On-line, modular annual assessments and/or a policy document, devoid of clarification and explanation, cannot be deemed to be an effective anti-bribery policy and would offer very little in defence of a serious allegation. However, if a prima facie offence of bribery exists and comprehensive anti-bribery training had occurred, it would be enough to put forward a defence, consistent with “adequate training,” in accordance with the terms of the legislation.

AAL provide anti-bribery training , so staff can understand the concept of bribery and understand the difference between accepting a bribe or accepting social invitations or minor gifts, which oil the machinery of business dealings.

If you think AAL can be of assistance contact us now.


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