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Bribery Act: do you have ‘adequate procedures’?

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Understanding and complying with ‘adequate procedures’ as detailed in the Bribery Act legislation, was highlighted in the recent conviction of London-based Skansen Interiors Limited in March 2018. It is the first time a UK Jury has had to consider what “adequate procedures” should be for the purpose of a defence to the corporate offence of ‘failing to prevent bribery’ under the UK Bribery Act 2010.

The CPS brought proceedings against the Skansen (now dormant) and its senior executive Stephen Banks, Managing Director at the time.  The prosecution claimed Mr Banks had bribed a project manager at a property company to secure a £6 million refurbishment contract.  Mr Banks pleaded guilty to three offences and Graham Deakin, a former project manager at the property company, pleaded guilty to two offences. A date for sentencing is yet to be published by Southwark Crown Court.

The company was successfully prosecuted, despite having self reported to the National Crime Agency. The jury found against the company having adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery. They have heard evidence that Skansen:

  • did not have a policy specifically directed to preventing offences under the Bribery Act;

  • lacked a dedicated compliance officer; and

  • there was no evidence of staff training or confirmation showing employees have read and understood the company’s existing policy.

Under the Bribery Act 2010 a full legal defence can be found where a company has implemented ‘adequate procedures’ prior to an offence. Adherence to the six principles listed below highlights the importance of having these procedures in place to ensure, as a firm you encourage an anti-bribery and corruption culture:

  1. Proportionality – policies and procedures must be in place and be proportionate to the size, nature and complexity of the business activities;

  2. Top-level commitment – top management should show visible support for the company’s compliance policies and activities;

  3. Risk assessment – periodic assessments should be undertaken including internal and external risks;

  4. Due diligence – a risk-based approach should be taken before engaging with a third party to represent your company e.g. agents, consultants, joint ventures;

  5. Communication – policies and procedures should be communicated firmwide;

  6. Monitoring and review – monitor your anti-corruption policies and review these regularly for risks and the effectiveness of your procedures.

TEAL compliance can help you achieve the above objectives and guide you through what is required. We work closely with our clients to ensure they meet their obligatory requirements.  Contact us today for a free initial chat on 0333 987 4320 or email us at hello@tealcompliance.com.


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