A Code of Conduct setting out the procedures it has in place for dealing with the risk of bribery is now an essential document for every business in the UK. 'Adequate procedures' are a specific requirement of the Bribery Act.
Under the Bribery Act, effective from 1st July 2011 there are four new offences:
- bribery of another person
- accepting a bribe
- bribing a foreign official
- failing to prevent bribery
It is quite a short statute – but one with a long reach as it is broad-ranging in its language and it specifically covers corruption abroad as well as at home. Companies as well as individuals can be prosecuted and the only defence to the new offence of failing to prevent bribery is to show you have ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent this sort of thing – i.e. a Code of Conduct is necessary and must be implemented and specifically tailored to the organisation’s bribery exposure.
This means that every business should have a Code of Conduct in place which is compliant with the Act and the Guidance issued by the UK Government.
Prepared for ContractStore by solicitor Giles Dixon in conjunction with the International Governance & Risk Institute (GovRisk), this Code of Conduct is a template which should be adapted and tailored to meet your particular circumstances. These will depend on the size and nature of your business and the areas of the world in which you do business, as well as the extent of your relationships with others – joint venture partners, agents, Government clients etc. The Appendix also includes useful information to implement your Code of Conduct by conducting a bribery risk assessment, implementing effective and proportionate policies, organising initial company-wide training, ensuring top-down commitment, training critical personnel and ensuring an ongoing anti-bribery framework.
This Code of Conduct contains sections that follow the six principles in the Government Guidance:
- Proper Procedures
- Top Level Commitment
- Risk Assessment
- Due Diligence
- Communication (including training)
- Monitoring & Review.
The Code is in plain English and contains 7 pages plus an Appendix. These include:
- A short summary of the Bribery Act
- Examples of Prohibited Activities
- Sample Risk Register & Matrix
- Sample Contract Clauses
- Sample Training Schedule
- Entertainment & Hospitality Form