Every company director needs to be aware of the risk of personnel liability under the new Act.

The risk of serious damage to businesses as a result of corruption has increased significantly in recent years. Globalisation has not only opened up opportunities for businesses, but also exposed them to greater risk of corruption (whether due to the range of markets they operate in, activities they are involved in or third parties they work with).

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of corporate bribery and corruption investigations, often involving high profile companies such as AON, Amec Plc, Balfour Beatty Plc, BAE, Mabey & Johnson and Innospec.

With the advent of the Bribery Act 2010, the UK Serious Fraud Office is now determined to demonstrate its authority in this area. Seemingly innocent gifts, benefits or payments, where linked to improper performance over work related function, may be a criminal offence, attracting stiff penalties of up to 10 years in imprisonment for individuals and unlimited fines for corporate entities. The reputational cost can also be dramatic and long lasting.

It is clear that the UK business community including those within the plant industry must take anti corruption measures very seriously.