Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 (the Act) introduces the corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery and attracts an unlimited fine. Under the UK's interpretation of the 2004 EU Procurement Directives (the Directives), companies committing this offence should also be barred from bidding for public contracts across the EU. The Scottish Government has deemed this prevention of tender as disproportionate and stated that companies should only be prohibited from bidding if they have "actual knowledge" of bribery. In Germany and Austria, legislators have addressed this issue by allowing companies to restore their ability to bid for public contracts across the EU by committing to reforms.
In the UK, there are concerns from industry stakeholders that this prevention for bidding for contracts could have devastating effects on international companies as the result of actions of overseas subsidiaries. In the UK, a Ministry of Justice spokesman was quoted as saying the UK Government is aware of the good argument against Section 7 of the Act triggering exclusion and that the regulations which will implement the Directives are still being considered.