Dealing with the impact of the Bribery Act is high on the agenda of many organisations. The Act was due to come into force in April 2011. However, we understand that the Ministry of Justice has now confirmed that implementation of the Act will be delayed, most likely as a result of concerns raised during the consultation process to clarify certain areas of the Act.
Under the Act, an organisation can defend itself against the new corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery, if it can show it had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery. The Act requires the Government to publish guidance on what will constitute adequate procedures before it comes into force. That guidance was due to be published at the end of last month. We understand that the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that as publication of the adequate procedures guidance will be delayed, so will the date that the Act comes into force.
No new date for publication of the guidance or the coming into force of the Act has been announced. It is likely that when the guidance is published it will be followed by a three month notice period before implementation of the Act.
For a detailed review of some of the key provisions of the Act please see our alert Bribery Act to come into force in April 2011 - time to take action.