Introduction to this document

Anti-bribery policy

Your business can be guilty of a criminal offence under the Bribery Act 2010 where it has failed to prevent bribery by a person associated with it. However, you have a defence if you can show you had adequate procedures in place which were designed to prevent bribery. Implement our anti-bribery policy as your first line of defence.

The corporate offence

The corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery under the Bribery Act 2010 is committed where a person associated with the organisation bribes another person intending either to obtain or retain business, or to obtain or retain an advantage in the conduct of business, for that organisation. The scope of the offence is broad, both in terms of the people who may be held to be “associated” with the employer and its extra-territorial effect. “Associated” persons is defined as persons who perform services for or on behalf of the organisation and who are intending to obtain or retain business, or an advantage in the conduct of business, for the organisation. It includes employees, workers, agents and subsidiaries. It could also include (depending on the facts) third parties such as contractors, distributors, suppliers, etc.  Whether an individual will be deemed to be acting for or on behalf of an organisation is a question of fact and dependent on the relevant circumstances. That said, your employees will be presumed to be performing services on your behalf unless the contrary is proved. 

The adequate procedures defence

Failing to prevent bribery is a strict liability offence, subject only to the “adequate procedures” defence. This means you must show you had adequate procedures in place designed to prevent bribery, i.e. to prevent individuals who perform services on your behalf from bribing. The government has issued comprehensive guidance about the procedures that organisations can put in place to prevent associated persons from bribing. It is recommended that all businesses, as a minimum, have an anti-bribery policy which is clearly communicated to employees and other associated persons. You can use our Anti-Bribery Policy for this purpose. We recommend you also appoint a senior officer to oversee and implement your anti-bribery policies and procedures. Ensure they are properly communicated to all relevant parties, with training being provided to employees on a periodic basis.