Could you spot a bribe if you saw one?

Bribery is to business as a faulty cornerstone is to a foundation. Whether it takes place on the top level of your organisation’s high rise, or in the basement, everyone is going to feel the effects. This is why we have a built a module around the Anti Bribery Act, which will highlight your employee’s responsibilities towards identifying and mitigating attempts of bribery.

The issue of Bribery is a common one amongst businesses. It is a way for a person or organisation to illegitimately and unfairly influence decisions or processes (usually) in their favour, and can have serious consequences for all parties involved, both the briber and the recipient regardless of whether either party realise it.

Bribery isn’t to be taken lightly, no matter how small or large an organisation is.
A survey* conducted by Transparency International shows that:

• Almost one in five executives claimed to have lost business due to a competitor paying bribes.

• 48.1% of respondents do not think the government is effective in tackling corruption

• 92.7% of respondents would like to report corruption, but only 30.1% would know where to report it.

It is important to showcase to your employees that not everyone is trying to commit bribery, but not everyone fully understands what exactly can constitute an attempt at bribery either. Whether a gift is perceived by employees as a bribe or not, it may be seen as such by someone else, and can land you and any involved parties in a lot of trouble if you do not take proper precautions, such as having an Anti-Bribery policy in place to ensure you comply with the law**, and utilising common sense to realise when something is (or could be construed as) an attempt at corruption. If you fail to prevent bribery occurring in your business, it can potentially cost you thousands as well as severely damaging your reputation and that of any organisations involved.

If an organisation makes itself aware of the risks and regulations involved, and pro-actively takes steps to understand and protect against bribery and corruption in the form of sufficient training and policies it can be protected under UK law.

Here are some tips to ensure you protect against bribery and corruption, and avoid falling into the trap:

• Implement policies and procedures to help prevent bribery and corruption. If someone in your organisation is prosecuted for bribery, you can be found liable as well unless you prove you had measures to prevent it.

• Do not agree to give favourable treatment to people who offer you favours, this is bribery and you can also be punished for accepting it.

• Remember that the effort to influence a decision can be a big give-away. A standard business lunch might be just dinner and a drink at a restaurant. An attempt to bribe someone over dinner might be a full 3 course meal and an expensive watch at a swanky hotel!

• Always decline offers of gifts to you for ‘long standing business relationships’, these may actually be attempts to influence a business decision.

• Do not offer gifts of personal / significant value. While handing out company branded items and paying for accommodation and dining is standard business hospitality, the gifts could be interpreted as a bribe.

• Take note that while token gifts can be accepted, repeated offers of token gifts may also be an attempt to bribe somebody.

• Report any instances of attempted bribery to your manager as soon as possible.

*http://www.transparency.org.uk/corruption/statistics-and-quotes

**http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/legislation/bribery-act-2010-quick-start-guide.pdf

If you are interested in educating your staff on the anti bribery act, and wish to preview our new anti-bribery module please feel free to get in touch here.

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