Proposed changes to the law on bribery
The government has recently published a draft Bribery Bill aimed at modernising and simplifying the law on bribery.
Amongst the provisions is a proposed new offence of negligent failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery. As drafted this new offence would significantly extend the law of corporate criminal liability and both a company and its directors could be subject to criminal penalties (including an unlimited fine) for committing an offence. There is a defence in the draft Bill for organisations to show that they had adequate procedures in place designed to prevent bribery.
If and when the Bill is set to become law, large corporate organisations who commonly deal with public bodies, should consider implementing systems to counter bribery, for example issuing detailed policies and procedures on gifts, hospitalities, facilitation payments, vetting outside agents and advisers, lobbying and political contributions as well as auditing their compliance and putting in place adequate staff training and guidance.
Reviewed in 2015