With the Christmas season coming up, what do I need to know as an employer, about the Bribery Act with regards to sending and receiving gifts?

It is quite normal for businesses to extend their good will and festive wishes at Christmas time to other businesses with whom they do business. Sometimes companies will give gifts to main clients as a thank you for their continued business.

Whether the gift be a bottle of wine, box of chocolates or something more extravagant, it is advisable that all gifts, or acts of hospitality, that are given in connection with the business are recorded in an organised fashion according to the guidance that accompanies the Bribery Act 2010.

Items that pass from company to company, or from company to client, for example, are under scrutiny since the implementation of the Act which created a criminal offence, amongst other things, for employers who fail to prevent bribery from taking place by anyone acting on behalf of their company.

Gifts and hospitality, where they are not intended to induce or reward impropriety, are not considered to be acts of bribery. Therefore, employers need not worry excessively if the gifts they provide are intended purely to reward past good service.

In light of this, it does not matter whether the gift or hospitality has a high value or is worth just a couple of pounds, as long as the giver is not giving it to induce or reward improper performance.

However, employers should take the time to remind their employees of their anti-bribery ethos, and of any anti-bribery policy in operation.

For any further clarification, please call our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.