Tender Writing Policies: New Bribery Act Rules

Do you have a complete and up to date suite of policies in your tender writing and policies library? Well here’s one more to add to the list. The Bribery Act 2010 finally arrived on 1st July 2011. If you missed our spring bulletin, the Act creates a brand new offence applicable to UK commercial organisations who fail to prevent individuals ‘associated’ with it from bribing another person on their behalf, no matter where in the world the bribery occurs. Conversely it also extends to non-UK entities conducting business in the UK. So how can your organisation protect itself from prosecution?

The key is to ensure the business has adequate procedures in place. Of course, prevention is better than cure but in the event the organisation is faced with defending its position in court, the ability to illustrate a robust set of anti-bribery and anti-corruption processes are in place will be vital to a successful outcome.

But where to start when considering how to structure a new set of guidelines? The Ministry of Justice have helpfully suggested six guiding principles: Proportionality, top level commitment, risk assessment, due diligence, communication (including training), monitoring and review. Small businesses who only trade within the UK may rightly feel as though this is overkill. If this is you, perhaps consider a watered down version such as ensuring everyone is aware of the Act and its implications and clearly stating the company’s view on accepting or giving bribes. Larger organisations will need far more robust processes in place and a solid policy rolled out throughout the organisation as part of their ongoing training program. They may also decide to put a senior management steering committee in place. However, the starting place for any size organisation is to conduct an assessment of the potential risks that may exist.

For more information about the Bribery Act 2010 or the suite of policies you hold in your tender writing library contact us