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Possible need to consider anti-bribery procedures (all UK)

Note: This is our original regulation update text, published on 21 April 2011. Unlike the rest of our site, this archived material is not updated if the law changes.

Relevant to
All businesses

Took effect on
1 July 2011

From 1 July 2011, under the Bribery Act 2010, your business may need to have a procedure in place to prevent acts of bribery.

You will only need such a procedure if - following an assessment - there is a risk that an agent, subsidiary or other person performing services for your business might carry out such acts.

The Act provides:

  • a general offence of bribery, which is defined as giving someone a financial or other advantage to induce them to perform their functions or activities improperly, or to reward them for having already done so
  • an offence of bribing a foreign public official in order to win business, keep business or gain a business advantage for the organisation
  • an offence relating to failure by a business to prevent a person associated with it from committing the above offences on its behalf in order to win business, keep business or gain a business advantage for the organisation

You will have a statutory defence to the last of these offences if your business has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery on your behalf.

To prevent bribery - and have a defence in case a charge of bribery is made against you - you should:

  • assess whether your business is at risk and, if so, the level of that risk
  • put in place procedures proportionate to the risk you have identified, the scope and size of your business, and the country/ies in which you do business
  • show your clear commitment to the prevention of bribery
  • use due diligence to assess who you are dealing with and who you appoint to represent you
  • communicate, train and raise awareness among employees and business partners
  • monitor and review your procedures

Note that you will be able to continue:

  • providing genuine business hospitality
  • carrying out proportionate and reasonable promotional activities

Full title of regulation
Bribery Act 2010

Ministry of Justice