Risk managers tell me they are still concerned about the Bribery Act even though it’s been delayed a couple of times now
Just because the British government has decided to delay the implementation of the Bribery Act (again) that is no reason for companies to take their eyes off the ball.
Speaking with risk managers from across Europe I understand that anti-bribery programmes are still a top corporate governance concern.
And so they should be. It’s hardly likely that the US—which has been pressuring the UK government, behind the scenes and publicly, to toughen up on bribery—will take its foot off the gas.
Here are ten things you should know about the Bribery Act
For some time now the US has been pursuing companies around the world for breaching its anti-bribery legislation, the much feared Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
There’s little chance that Britain’s new coalition government is going to rebuke the Bribery Act, one of Labour’s last acts in charge.
The delay is due to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which needs more time to publish accurate advice and guidance for companies to help them follow the new rules, which some say are stricter even than the FCPA.
As far as the business lobby is concerned, confusion abounds over what constitutes a bribe. Does treating a client to a slap up meal, for example, qualify as breaking the rules?
And what exactly should companies be doing to prevent their business partners from behaving corruptly. Under the new rules they can (in theory) be held liable for the actions of third parties within joint ventures.
With any luck the MoJ’s guidance should clear up some of these issues for risk managers.
When the guidance is published it will be followed by a three month “notice period” before the Act actually comes into force, according to the MoJ.