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Commercial law and the Bribery Act 2010

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Does the Bribery Act affect you?

If you run a business in the UK then the simple answer is yes. The Bribery Act is a piece of legislation which came into effect on 1 July 2011.  It replaces previous UK legislation on the prevention of bribery and corruption, which was considered to be out of date.

What does the Bribery Act make me liable for?

Unsurprisingly, the Act makes it a criminal offence to either offer or take a bribe.  This offence can apply to either individuals or companies and, as you can imagine, carries substantial penalties.

Perhaps more surprisingly, the Act introduces a new offence of “failure to prevent corruption”.  This offence is committed by a company if one of their employees, directors or someone acting for the company (such as an agent or distributor) commits an act of bribery.

What penalties could I face under the Bribery Act?

In the worst case, you could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment and unlimited corporate fines. The business or individuals involved in bribery could also be barred from all future public procurement.

What advice can you give me to protect my business?  The only defence you will have to a charge of failure to prevent corruption is to demonstrate you have policies and procedures in place designed to prevent bribery and corruption and that these policies and procedures are well thought out and properly implemented.

The first step you should take to protect itself is to conduct a risk questionnaire. Simply email me and I’ll send you one over. It should only take you about £10 minutes to complete.

And once you have, just email back to me and I’ll provide you with FREE feedback.

Or, you can click here to download our more comprehensive Bribery Act checklist designed to help you prepare a full risk analysis yourself.

Once risk of bribery in your business has been identified you should look to put in place the relevant policies and procedures and to communicate these to your staff and any companies you work with.

How do I get help with this?

If you would rather talk to a human being than complete the above guides, please call David Miller on 01332 226 466 or 07813 203 658.

Or email him here.

David will be happy to give you advice on any aspect of the Bribery Act with you and/or to arrange a free face to face consultation or short training session.

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