UK authorities have disposed of the first corporate offence of 'failing to prevent bribery' four years after the offence became available, with Brand-Rex Limited self-reporting contravention of the Bribery Act 2010 and agreeing to pay £212,800 in civil recovery.

What you need to know:

  1. The necessity of 'adequate' procedures. Brand-Rex reportedly had anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) policies and procedures in place but did not attempt to assert that they were 'adequate'; which would have been a complete defence. 
  2. The benefits of undertaking a full internal investigation into alleged wrongdoing and making a prompt self-report to the appropriate authorities.
  3. There are clear advantages to taking swift and decisive action. This case went from self-report of bribery-related conduct to disposal in four months. 
  4. The developing legal circumstances. Brand-Rex took advantage of a specific voluntary disclosure programme in Scotland, which came to an end on 30 June 2015 and has never been available in England. 
  5. Now is a good time to refresh ABC risk assessments.
  6. Verify that policies and procedures are in fact 'adequate' to meet key risks and that they have been properly implemented, especially overseas.
  7. Conduct refresher training for key management, staff and third parties.
  8. Review ABC due diligence processes in relation to existing and future business partners and other third parties.
  9. Ensure that ABC compliance is properly resourced.
  10. Verify that matters such as Board-level engagement and messaging are sufficient and properly recorded.