UK Bribery Act

The UK Bribery Act 2010 is one of the toughest anti-corruption laws in the world and an inspiration for similar legislation in other countries.

Although the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is much older and often used in the fight against corporate malpractice, the UK Bribery Act is more comprehensive in outlawing the giving or taking of bribes under any circumstance, including grease or facilitation payments.

Individuals and companies convicted of breaching this law anywhere in the world can be hit with unlimited fines and up to 10 years' imprisonment.

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Tackling Corporate Bribery

The Bribery Act has created a "strict liability" offence for companies based in the UK of failing to prevent bribery by employees, agents, subsidiaries or other 'associated persons'.

This means that if an associated person offers or pays a bribe on your company's behalf, you can face unlimited fines even if your company didn't sanction the bribe or even know about it being paid. The only defence available to you is that your company had implemented  "adequate procedures" to prevent bribery.

For this reason, procedures such as policy attestation, staff training, supply chain due diligence and an effective whistleblowing channel are your insurance against the risk of bribery.

Bribery Act Compliance Roadmap

Your roadmap for Bribery Act compliance should follow the Six Principles in the UK Government's Bribery Act Guidance. The first of these principles states that your procedures to prevent bribery should be proportionate to the bribery risks that you face, which in turn is determined by the nature, size and complexity of your company. Bearing this in mind, your roadmap should include:

  • Step 1: Prepare anti-bribery policies and procedures, and ensure that they are attested to by employees and associated persons. Depending on your risk assessment, these may include gifts and hospitality, donations, charitable contributions, facilitation payments and dealing with public officials.
  • Step 2: Train your employees and associated persons to identify, avoid, resist and report bribery. This training should include practical scenarios that are relevant to your business.
  • Step 3: Implement a Gifts and Hospitality Register (GHR) to address the most common channel for actual and perceived cases of bribery.
  • Step 4: Offer an anonymous whistleblowing register that your staff can use to report suspicions of internal or external wrongdoing.
  • Step 5: Obtain compliance declarations from third-party associated persons to ensure that your supply chain is aligned with your internal anti-bribery standards.
  • Step 6: Conduct anonymous staff surveys to uncover deficiencies in your internal controls and external threats, which should inform the continuing improvement of your anti-bribery policies and procedures.

Policy Attestations

Corporate policies are the backbone of any successful business. They guide conduct and behaviour, and set out the types of behaviour that a firm expects from its employees.

They are the mechanism for translating external regulatory requirements into the DNA of a firm - compliance is ensured when employees understand and operate within the boundaries of a policy.

With Skillcast's online Policy Hub, your employees can regularly review and attest to all the relevant policies in a timely and efficient manner, and you can provide evidence to regulators and authorities when required.

Policy Hub

Anti-Bribery Training

Most UK businesses have adopted anti-bribery policies, but it's the way they are implemented that makes the real difference.

Your staff need to understand your company's rules and expectations in relation to gifts, hospitality, donations, sponsorships etc. Those in higher-risk positions may need further training on issues that are specific to your company.

Principle 5 of the UK Government's Bribery Act Guidance states that "effective training is
continuous, and regularly monitored and evaluated".

However, the repeated training that's required for compliance can cause staff fatigue. Therefore, we provide an array of anti-bribery courses to help you keep your staff aware and engaged:

Compliance Essentials E-learning Courses

Gifts and Hospitality Registers

Gifts and hospitality are widely recognised as a source of bribery risk. They can be used as outright bribes on their own or as a way of obliging or entrapping a person.

The UK Government's Bribery Act Guidance recommends that bribery prevention procedures should include "gifts, hospitality and promotional expenditure, charitable and political donations, and demands for facilitation payments".

This requires you to establish policies that clearly outline your company's rules, limits and procedures. In addition, depending on the nature of your business and risk assessment, you may want to use a Gifts and Hospitality Register to record and approve staff requests for giving and receiving gifts, hospitality, sponsorships etc.

With Skillcast's online Gifts and Hospitality Register, you can run this workflow efficiently and analyse the data over time to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Bribery Act.

Whistleblowing

Blowing the whistle on internal and external malpractices is essential for the functioning and survival of companies.

Whistleblowing is the process by which employees can report suspected or actual improper conduct. It is done in confidence or anonymously, which is vital, as staff may feel unsafe or unable to report such behaviour to management.

A solid solution is to create an online whistleblowing register, which enables your employees to report any suspicion or knowledge of bribery anonymously.

Whistleblowing Training Presentation

Third-Party Due Diligence

It is likely that you will need third parties to complete disclosures or declarations regarding compliance with bribery laws, regulations or internal standards.

Using email or paper-based processes is slow and inefficient, and creates unnecessary duplication.

Using our online compliance declarations will help you to streamline the collection, analysis and management of due diligence for associated persons outside your organisation.

Staff Surveys

Your employees and managers are your first line of defence against bribery risks, and their knowledge about the effectiveness of your compliance procedures and the nature of external threats is invaluable.

Principle 3 of the UK Government's Bribery Act Guidance requires companies to assess their bribery risks. Such surveys can uncover: "(i) deficiencies in employee training, skills and knowledge, (ii) incentives for excessive risk-taking, (iii) lack of clarity in policies/procedures for gifts, hospitality charitable etc, (iv) lack of clear financial controls".

Further on, Principle 6 reiterates that "staff surveys and questionnaires provide an important source of information on the effectiveness and a means by which employees and other associated persons can inform the continuing improvement of anti-bribery policies".

Skillcast's Compliance Survey Tool can help you to conduct robust, anonymous staff surveys that ensure the widest coverage and enable employees to provide feedback to you in confidence.

Best Practices in Bribery and Corruption

If you'd like to stay up-to-date with bribery best practices, industry insights and key trends across regulatory compliance, digital learning, EdTech and RegTech news, subscribe to the Skillcast Compliance Bulletin.

6 Red Flags for Workplace Bribery & Corruption

Every year, trillions of dollars are lost through bribery and corruption - half of which is perpetrated by employees and contractors - so how can you spot it?

Discover the Bribery Red Flags

10 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Bribery & Corruption

Corruption affects all countries, rich and poor. It causes instability, inequality and poverty, and erodes national wealth. What can you do to reduce the risk in your company?

How to Reduce the Risk of Bribery

8 Tips for your Gifts & Hospitality Policy

You need better oversight to avoid conflicts of interest that could undermine your organisation's reputation. We have eight tips to help make your life a little less complicated.

Tips for your Gifts & Hospitality Policy

Free Anti-Bribery Resources

We have more than 60 free compliance training aids, including assessments, best-practice guides, checklists, desk aids, e-books, games, handouts, posters, training presentations and even e-learning modules.

Anti-Bribery Training Presentation

Our free interactive training presentation will enable you to give a time-efficient demonstration to your staff.

Teach your team about UK anti-bribery laws and red flags that they should be wary of to ensure that they don't become complicit in or victims of this crime.

Free Anti-Bribery Training Presentation

Anti-Bribery Good Practice Guide

Our simple guide will help your employees learn about good anti-bribery practices and avoid bad ones. Familiarise yourself and your colleagues with anti-bribery regulations by outlining examples of good and bad practices provided by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Free Anti-Bribery Good Practice Guide

Anti-Bribery E-learning Module

Transparency International UK has partnered with Skillcast to produce the gold standard of anti-bribery training: 'Doing Business Without Bribery'.

It provides comprehensive anti-corruption training for frontline staff, and will help you to prevent and resist bribery more effectively, and comply with the UK Bribery Act.

Free Anti-Bribery E-learning Module

Gifts & Hospitality Checklist

It's often tricky to know where goodwill ends and bribery begins.

We have created a handy checklist in PDF and editable Word formats, which contains 10 tips to help your team feel more confident when dealing with gifts.

Free Corporate Gifts Checklist

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