Yesterday the Government announced that the Bribery Act 2010 will come into force on 1 July 2011. The Government also published finalised Guidance for businesses on putting in place adequate procedures to prevent bribery. The Bribery Act 2010 significantly reforms the law of bribery, replacing current bribery laws dating back to 1889.

Importantly, it creates a new offence for any commercial organisation failing to prevent bribes being paid on its behalf. The only defence to this charge is to have "adequate procedures" in place to prevent bribery.

The Guidance published yesterday is intended to clarify "adequate procedures" and explain how best to implement them.

We are currently assisting a variety of organisations in developing strategies for compliance in accordance with the new legislation. Key elements include:

  1. assisting management in risk assessment;
  2. updating anti-bribery, hospitality and gifts policies;
  3. training staff on new procedures;
  4. reviewing contracts of employment and staff handbooks; and
  5. reviewing contracts with commercial partners and carrying out due diligence.

We will also be assisting clients in developing their understanding of the legislation via further publications and seminars.

To view the Guidance, please click here.