Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime, News & what's on - Written by on Monday, July 8, 2013 0:32 - 0 Comments

BSI and City of London Police announce joint initiative to tackle anti-bribery compliance apathy

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On Thursday last week the UK’s British Standards Instititue and the City of London Police announced a series of training programmes to combat what they perceive to be “the increasing prevalence of bribery and curb the number of cases affecting British businesses” and the “…growing number of bribery cases emerging…”

Statements like these should send an icy chill through the hearts of businesses up and down the land who have assumed that the chances of being caught out violating the Bribery Act are far outweighed by the commercial benefits of “doing what you have to do in some markets.”

In a press release last Thursday the City of London Police went on to say that “the introduction of the UK Bribery Act has been accompanied by a flurry of legal and commercial advice creating a confusion amongst many small and medium-sized business enterprises as to their responsibilities and constraints under the Act and how it is being practically applied.  This has led to many over-compensating for, or simply ignoring, the Act – resulting in inefficient or high-risk business practice.”

The press statement continued “For many small to medium sized businesses across all sectors, a decision has been taken to withdraw from trading in these markets for fear of prosecution…and noted that…25 individual cases of bribery are currently being investigated by the City of London Police…”

In response the City of London Police and BSI will deliver a series of Anti-Bribery Management (based on BS 10500) and Bribery Investigation training.

The training programmes are designed to help British businesses implement an effective anti-bribery management system and how to conduct an internal investigation of bribery.

At a press conference in London on Thursday last week, leaders of the BSI and City of London Police urged British businesses to take part in the training programmes to develop a greater understanding of the Bribery Act or potentially suffer the financial and reputational costs of prosecution.

Adrian Leppard QPM, Commissioner, City of London Police, said: “Bribery is the most insidious form of corruption.  It permeates and destabilises the social fabric of developing societies and denies communities their rightful aid.  Good business must be seen to identify and deter bribery, suffocating its opportunity to manipulate and debase transactions.  Business needs systems to achieve this and the BS10500 Anti-Bribery Management System sets a benchmark for good business practice both domestically and internationally.”

Howard Kerr, Chief Executive at BSI said: “The on-going threat of bribery related corruption has undoubtedly triggered concern amongst British business leaders. No organization is immune from bribery risk, however, organizations can demonstrate that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery and the financial and reputational costs associated with it.

“The development of a specific anti-bribery standard (BS 10500) responds to this business concern and helps organizations turn the legal requirements of the Act into practical, cost effective measures and shows them how to implement the right controls across their business and supply chain.”

Opinion

The provision of training by City of London Police and the BSI is to be welcomed.  Some have complained that they do not know what might equate to Adequate Procedures under the Bribery Act.  With Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard saying “the BS10500 Anti-Bribery Management System sets a benchmark for good business practice both domestically and internationally.” Businesses who put in place a compliance programme meeting BSI standards will be very well placed to claim the Adequate Procedures defence under the Bribery Act.

We recommend they do.

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