What you need to know about the UK Bribery Act

Brought into effect July 2011, the UK Bribery Act 2010 replaced the Anti-Bribery Law which had previously been described as inconsistent, anachronistic and inadequate. The need for a revision was widely recognised by legal commentators and practitioners, and had full support from all parties as it went through parliament.

Labelled as “the toughest anti-corruption legislation in the world”, the UK Bribery Act has raised the bar on bribery regulations throughout the world, encouraging other jurisdictions to do the same. However, even though it’s described as tough, the Act hasn’t been taken as seriously by UK organisations and individuals as first expected.

You’d think that with widespread fraud costing British businesses over £1.3 billion a year and putting business finances at risk, organisations would recognise the importance of the UK Bribery Act and act upon it. So why aren’t they?

We’ve put together some information on the UK Bribery Act that we think you should know – information which we believe will encourage you to do something about bribery within your organisation.

  1. British nationals living or working abroad can be prosecuted under the Act for their activities anywhere in the world
  2. The penalties under the Act are severe – there is a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine for individuals. Corporates can also face an unlimited fine.
  3. In addition, where a person (including a corporate) has been convicted of a corruption offence, they face an automatic ban from tendering for EU public contracts
  4. Confiscation under proceeds of crime legislation, which seeks to take away the entire benefit obtained by the wrongdoer as a result of his offences
  5. Depending on the facts, in the worst case a conviction for a bribery offence could result in a business being ordered to pay a sum equivalent to its entire revenue for the previous 6 years. That payment would be in addition to any fine levied under the Act
  6. There is a full defence if you can show you have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.

The last point states that if there has been a bribery offence at an organisation and ‘adequate procedures’ were put in place to prevent it, then organisations are covered in a full defence. Adequate procedures are defined in the BS 10500 Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) Specification which provides a proven framework that can be employed by organisations for managing and continually improving policies, procedures and practices that enable compliance with the UK Bribery Act 2010.

You can purchase the standard from here – https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/shop/p-386-bs10500-anti-bribery-management-system-abms-specification.aspx