Construction, Sectors - Written by on Friday, October 4, 2013 7:28 - 0 Comments

Half UK Construction Industry say bribery is common in damming report written by…the Construction Industry body

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mining truckIn a damming new report on the UK construction industry, by the *AHEM* UK construction industry body the UK Chartered Institute of building, just under half (49%) of respondents said they thought corruption is common in the UK industry.

Over a third, 35%, of respondents have been offered a bribe or incentive on at least one occasion.  A further 4.71% would rather not comment (make that 40% of respondents have been offered a bribe or incentives…).

A fifth said that bribery and fraud have increased in the construction industry in the last five years.

Two sides of the same coin?

In answer to the question why this is so, nearly 1/5 said it was the result of the lack of enforcement of anti-corruption and anti-bribery policies.

Water isn’t wet

There were some startling answers to questions around perceptions of unethical practices.  Our favourite top 3 practices which respondents to the survey said were NOT (yes we said NOT) corrupt:

  • Just under 10% said that bribery to obtain planning permission wasn’t corrupt.
  • Nearly 6% said that bribery to obtain a contract isn’t corrupt
  • 5% said concealing bribes wasn’t corrupt.

Cross fingers then that those who gave these answers aren’t in your supply chain.  No doubt the answers to their tender questionnaires were not so candid.

In terms of risk areas for bribery 43% suggest that all the stages of the ‘construction process’ are susceptible to corruption with 35% saying that the pre-qualification and tendering phase is the most at risk.

Approximately half said that that the UK construction industry (50%) and the UK Government (55%) are not doing enough to prevent and tackle corruption.

Three quarters said they were aware of the Bribery Act and a further quarter were aware of the British Standard Anti-Bribery Management System (which we support).

Counter to the lobby which seeks to dilute the Bribery Act most respondents believe the Bribery Act serves to benefit business – perhaps leveling the playing field – which judging by this survey is tilting significantly to one side…

Only a minority thought that the Bribery Act inhibited networking and created confusion around corporate hospitality, with only a few saying that the Bribery Act hampered the ability to conduct business overseas.  Nearly 80% said that they thought it  is important to tackle the issue of corruption.

Senior management & corporates themselves on the hook?

The vast majority of those surveyed said that corruption was most likely to occur at middle management and above.  With nearly 30% saying it was likely to occur by an individual at senior management level or by a corporate at senior management level the argument that the unethical conduct is simply the action of a rogue employee may be harder to make, with potential criminal legal consequences flowing for the individuals and the corporates.

Opinion

This report is bad news for the construction industry.

It suggests that practices are poor and there is significant complacency.

The report is also bad news for taxpayers and consumers – since funding the payment of bribes simply puts up the costs of the bribe payer which will inevitably, in some way, be passed onto the customer.

There are beacons of light within the industry but it appears that for some there is much to learn.  Sadly, some may end up learning the hard way.

Reports like this, written by the construction industry itself, and the publicity resulting will inevitably attract the interest of law enforcement agencies.

This is all a great shame especially when these practices are unnecessary and with some simple steps easy to avoid and prevent.

Enforcement risk in the industry just rose by another couple of notches.

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