Adequate Procedures, All you need to know about self reporting, Corporate hospitality - Written by Barry & Richard on Saturday, September 11, 2010 13:00 - 1 Comment
Adequate procedures: The antidote to bribery
The SFO regard the new strict liability Failure to Prevent Bribery offence as one of the most important features of the new law.
The new offence, designed to deal with the UK’s historical problem in prosecuting businesses for bribery will make it easy to convict without needing to prove any intent on the part of the business.
Importantly there is a defence to the offence of Failure to Prevent Bribery.
Companies who can demonstrate that they have “Adequate Procedures” to prevent bribery will not be guilty.
In the summer it was announced that draft guidance would be published for consultation in September. When it is, we’ll review it and give you our thoughts. We’ll probably participate in the consultation process too.
SFO’s Checklist Published
However, there really is no point in delaying in getting to grips with what your business needs to do now.
There is already more information about what “Adequate Procedures” will require than anyone could possibly read on the internet. In the U.S companies compliant with the U.S. Foreign & Corrupt Practices Act and other laws dealing with corruption have had Adequte Procedures for years. Numerous U.S cases have set out what companies should do.
But you really don’t even need to look that far to find out what your business needs to do to comply by April 2011 in the U.K.
- a clear statement of an anti-corruption culture fully and visibly supported at the highest levels in the corporate.
- a Code of Ethics.
- principles that are applicable regardless of local laws or culture.
- individual accountability.
- a policy on gifts and hospitality and facilitation payments.
- a policy on outside advisers/third parties including vetting and due diligence and appropriate risk assessments.
- a policy concerning political contributions and lobbying activities.
- training to ensure dissemination of the anti-corruption culture to all staff at all levels within the corporate.
- regular checks and auditing in a proportionate manner.
- a helpline within the corporate which enables employees to report concerns.
- a commitment to making it explicit that the anti-bribery code applies to business partners.
- appropriate and consistent disciplinary processes.
- whether there have been previous cases of corruption within the corporate and, if so, the effect of any remedial action.
The much awaited guidance when published will not be prescriptive so there is no need to wait for the guidance to be published to begin taking steps to be compliant.