Last week I was sent in some token gifts as part of Halloween, and one of my staff mentioned we can’t accept it because of The Bribery Act – with Christmas around the corner, as an employer what do I need to do to adhere to The Bribery Act?

Since the introduction of the Bribery Act 2010 it has been the obligation of employers to ensure no form of bribery takes place in association with their company in order to avoid any breach of legislation. The Act, although not directly employment related, carries criminal liability for any employer who fails to prevent any bribery being carried out in connection to the employer. It is important to note that an employer can still be liable regardless of whether they authorised the bribery or not.  Employers should have ‘adequate procedures’ in place in order to prevent this.

During the upcoming festive period it is common practice for businesses to exchange gifts or acts of hospitality, however in regard to the Bribery Act; employers will question whether this will put them in breach of the act and whether this practice can legally take place.

In order not to be considered a bribe, gifts and hospitality must not wish to encourage dishonest benefits and therefore employers are not in breach if gifts/hospitality is given in festive spirit or a reward for good service. In addition to this the monetary value of the gifts is irrelevant as long as these are in good faith with no ulterior motive.

Employers should inform employees of their ‘anti-bribery ethos’ and of any ‘anti –bribery policy’ in operation within the company. Employers should keep note of any gifts given/received in connection with the company in case of any legal proceedings.

Employers should also follow the six guiding principles regarding their stance to bribery:

Proportionate procedures

Employers should adopt procedures proportionate to the risk of bribery it faces according to the nature of its activities.

Top level commitment

Top level management should be dedicated to preventing bribery within a company and ethos against it established.

Risk assessment

It should be assessed to what extent the company is at risk to internal and external forms of bribery.

Due diligence

Due diligence procedures should be implemented with a proportionate risk based approach in order to reduce bribery risks.

Communication

Bribery prevention policy should be understood by all employees

Monitoring and review

Procedures in place to prevent bribery should be monitored and reviewed and adapted if necessary.

If you have any more questions regarding The Bribery Act, contact our Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.