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MIJ The Bribery Act Full Guidance

last updated: 10th August 2012

MIJ The Bribery Act Full Guidance.pdf

360KB

Introduction

1 The Bribery Act 2010 received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010. A full copy of the Act and its Explanatory Notes can be accessed:
 
The Act creates a new offence under section 7 which can be committed by commercial organisations1 which fail to prevent persons associated with them from committing bribery on their behalf. It is a full defence for an organisation to prove that despite a particular case of bribery it nevertheless had adequate procedures in place to prevent persons associated with it from bribing. Section 9 of the Act requires the Secretary of State to publish guidance about procedures which commercial organisations can put in place to prevent persons associated with them from bribing. This document sets out that guidance.

2 The Act extends to England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This guidance is for use in all parts of the United Kingdom. In accordance with section 9(3) of the Act, the Scottish Ministers have been consulted regarding the content of this guidance. The Northern Ireland Assembly has also been consulted.

3 This guidance explains the policy behind section 7 and is intended to help commercial organisations of all sizes and sectors understand what sorts of procedures they can put in place to prevent bribery as mentioned in section 7(1).
 
4 The guidance is designed to be of general application and is formulated around six guiding principles, each followed by commentary and examples. The guidance is not prescriptive and is not a one-size-fits-all document. The question of whether an organisation had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery in the context of a particular prosecution is a matter that can only be resolved by the courts taking into account the particular facts and circumstances of the case. The onus will remain on the organisation, in any case where it seeks to rely on the defence, to prove that it had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery. However, departures from the suggested procedures contained within the guidance will not of itself give rise to a presumption that an organisation does not have adequate procedures.
 
5 If your organisation is small or medium sized the application of the principles is likely to suggest procedures that are different from those that may be right for a large multinational organisation. The guidance suggests certain procedures, but they may not all be applicable to your circumstances. Sometimes, you may have alternatives in place that are also adequate.
 
6 As the principles make clear commercial organisations should adopt a risk-based approach to managing bribery risks. Procedures should be proportionate to the risks faced by an organisation. No policies or procedures are capable of detecting and preventing all bribery.
A risk-based approach will, however, serve to focus the effort where it is needed and will have most impact. A risk-based approach recognises that the bribery threat to organisations varies across jurisdictions, business sectors, business partners and transactions.

7 The language used in this guidance reflects its non-prescriptive nature. The six principles are intended to be of general application and are therefore expressed in neutral but affirmative language. The commentary following each of the principles is expressed more broadly.

8 All terms used in this guidance have the same meaning as in the Bribery Act 2010. Any examples of particular types of conduct are provided for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute exhaustive lists of relevant conduct.

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