Bribery Act 2010 delayed (again)

2 February, 2011

The Government has once again postponed the implementation of the Bribery Act 2010 while it rewrites the guidance for businesses on how to comply with the new law.

The Bribery Act (‘the Act’), which was passed by Parliament in April last year and was intended to come into force in October 2010, will make companies responsible for any acts of bribery carried out by their employees’ unless the companies can show they had adequate policies and procedures in place to combat bribery.

Following a wave of concern from businesses, uncertain about what would constitute ‘adequate’ policies and procedures, the Government delayed the implementation until April 2011 to allow for a consultation into what companies can do to ensure they do not fall foul of the new Act. This consultation closed in November 2010 with a number of organisations, including the Law Society and the CBI, criticising the draft guidance for lacking clarity.

In response to the criticism, the Government has now announced a further delay in the implementation while it rewrites the guidance. The Ministry of Justice has not yet indicated when new guidance will be published but has said that there will be a period of three months between the publication of guidance and the implementation of the Act to give businesses a period to familiarise themselves with the guidance and ensure that they have adequate policies and procedures in place before the Act comes into force.

Reviewed in 2015