What is the Bribery Act?

21 August 2010
What is the Bribery Act?

For our latest update on the Bribery Act, see our 2 February 2011 blog post.

The Bribery Act became law in April 2010 and will come into force in April 2011. However many charities are not aware of its implications. We look at what the Bribery Act means for the voluntary sector – and what useful resources are available to help you put anti-bribery systems into practice

What is the Bribery Act?
The Bribery Act puts significant responsibility on directors to demonstrate that their organisations have “adequate procedures” in place to prevent corrupt business practices.


Who does it apply to?
The Act applies to companies and partnerships – and will include those charities who are also registered companies.


What are the penalties?
Under the Act, there are unlimited fines for breaches and directors could receive up to 10 years in prison for failing to have “adequate procedures” to prevent bribery.


Companies will not be able to rely on the defence that they were unaware of corrupt practices taking place.


What happens next?
Consultation is anticipated in September 2010, followed by official guidance early in the New Year 2011 with the law coming into force in April 2011.


Ensure your organisation has adequate anti-bribery procedures in place. You can do this by:

  • conducting a risk assessment on your organisation
  • introducing a robust anti-bribery policy which covers the handling of gifts and hospitality
  •  maintain comprehensive financial records and processes
  • provide training to staff and agents.


There are resources available to help you put this into action.


For more information see:

Business Principles for Countering Bribery (SME edition) from Transparency International


Transparency International briefing for NGOs


Business Link


Please note that HRBird by its very nature offers general information. If you're looking for advice specific to your situation, speak to an HR professional or solicitor. 
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