Adequate Procedures, Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime - Written by Barry & Richard on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 23:46 - 1 Comment
A lawyers certificate of Adequate Procedures compliance. How much would you pay?
Richard Alderman, Director of the SFO recently had this to say on the subject lawyers certificates on Adequate Procedures:
“No set of procedures can ever guard against the one off occurrence. We will be realistic about this. We do though expect the Board of the group to take an active interest in these issues and to be able to demonstrate to employees wherever they are that bribery will not be tolerated. These employees are very alert to messages from the top and will pick up what really matters to the Board. If the message from the Board (whether spoken or unspoken) is that it does not matter how business is obtained so long as it is obtained, then it will be no surprise if bribery occurs. If though employees know that the Board only wants ethical business, then they know that that is the tone set from the top. In the SFO we are therefore very interested in the lead set by the top of the organisation.
We know, for example, that some companies believe that all they need is a certificate from a firm of lawyers that they have adequate procedures. We hear about this. We hear as well that the company is not prepared to pay very much for this and expects a certificate of adequate procedures for its worldwide enterprise under say £25,000. This will not impress us very much. This does not mean that we expect companies to spend millions of pounds on this. What we do expect though is a proportionate approach by companies focussing on the key risks and on what they are doing in order to be able to combat those risks. This is what companies should be doing anyway. Indeed some companies have told us that this is a valuable exercise for them for all sorts of reasons that they should have carried out before.
A company that does this but which finds problems will receive very sympathetic treatment at the SFO. A company that closes its mind to the issues while perhaps having some veneer of paper procedures will receive different treatment.” [our emphasis]
Money may talk. But actions speak louder than words.