Last week saw the long-awaited arrival of the revised guidance on the Bribery Act 2010 with confirmation that the Act will now be in force on 1 July 2011. So there is just a three month window for organisations, large and small, to take action to ensure their business isn't unduly exposed.

Just to re-cap for those who need it, the Bribery Act 2010 creates four offences:

  • Bribing another person;#
  • Receiving a bribe;
  • Bribing a foreign public official; and
  • The new 'corporate offence' of failing to prevent bribery taking place.

A defence to the 'corporate offence' will be for an organisation to show it had 'adequate procedures' in place designed to prevent people associated with it from being involved in acts of bribery. Guidance on what constitutes 'adequate procedures' was issued on 30 March 2011 in time for the Act coming into force on 1 July 2011, and the guidance also makes it clear that the so called 'corporate offence' will have just as much potential to affect public sector bodies as private companies

The guidance suggests six key principles for businesses to follow to try to determine what their 'adequate procedures' should be depending on the organisation's areas of exposure and risk:

  • Proportionate procedures
  • Top-level commitment
  • Risk assessment
  • Due diligence
  • Communication (including training)
  • Monitoring and review