Never since the business world got stiffed by the overbearing Sairbaines Oxley Act has a new piece of legislation been about to make such a big impact. The Bribery Act creates a number of offences related to business corruption. Very few business laws really branch the gap between ethics and legislation. Many organisations have accepted for years that a) certain countries require “local facilitation fees” to get the contracts rolling and b) also rely on Government contracts.
The new Act makes it an offence for any UK based organisation to offer, make or appoint an agent anywhere in the world to do such things. Overseas bribes can lead to heavy fines for bodies corporate and individuals and also upto ten years in prison for the individual. If convicted of an offence under the Act, it may also debar the guilty party from being awarded government contracts in the European Union.
A couple of basic steps to get going:
1 Define what your organisation classes as a bribe
2 Draft and implement a bribery policy