What is the Bribery Act 2010?
The Bribery Act 2010 (“the Act”) was introduced to update and enhance UK law on bribery including foreign bribery in order to address better the requirements of the 1997 OECD anti-bribery Convention. It is now among the strictest legislation internationally on bribery. Notably, it introduces a new strict liability offence for companies (and LLPs) of failing to prevent bribery.
The introduction of this new corporate criminal offence places a burden of proof on companies to show they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery. The Act also provides for strict penalties for active and passive bribery by individuals as well as companies.
The Act creates four prime offences:
- two general offences covering the offering promising or giving of an advantage, and requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting of an advantage;
- a discrete offence of bribery of a foreign public official; and
- a new offence of failure to prevent a bribe being paid to obtain or retain business or a business advantage (should an offence be committed it will be a defence that adequate procedures were in place to prevent bribery).
What is Bribery?
A bribe is an inducement or reward offered, promised or provided in order to improperly gain any commercial, contractual, regulatory or personal advantage, which may constitute an offence under the Act, namely:
- giving or offering a bribe;
- receiving or requesting a bribe; or
- bribing a foreign public official.
Companies may also be liable under the Act if they fail to prevent bribery by an associated person (including, but not limited to Workers) for its benefit.
Offences and adequate procedures
The Act creates heightened liability risks for companies, directors and individuals. Unlike previous legislation, the Act places strict liability upon companies for failure to prevent bribes being given (active bribery) and the only defence is that companies had in place adequate procedures designed to prevent persons associated with it from undertaking bribery.
Whitehall Resources’ anti-bribery policy
Anti-bribery value statement
It is our policy to conduct business in an honest and ethical manner. As part of that, we take a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships, wherever it operates, and implementing and enforcing effective systems to counter bribery.
We will uphold all laws relevant to countering bribery and corruption in all the jurisdictions in which we conduct business, including the Act, which applies to conduct both in the UK and abroad.
This policy applies to all individuals working for or on our behalf at all levels and grades, whether permanent, fixed-term or temporary, and wherever located, including consultants, contractors, casual staff, agency staff, volunteers, agents, sponsors and any other person who performs services for or on behalf of us, (collectively referred to as “Workers” in this policy).
Who must comply with this policy?
In this policy, Third Party means any individual or organisation that Workers come into contact with during the course of work and the running of our business, and includes actual and potential clients, intermediaries, referrers of work, suppliers, distributors, business contacts, agents, advisers, government and public bodies (including their advisers, representatives and officials), politicians and political parties.
Gifts and Hospitality
This policy does not prohibit normal and appropriate gifts and hospitality (given and received) to or from Third Parties unless otherwise specifically stated. However, we have specific internal policies and procedures which provide guidance to Workers as to what is to be regarded as normal and appropriate gifts and hospitality in terms of financial limits, subject to the principles set out below (the Overriding Principles), namely that any gift or hospitality:
- must not be made with the intention of improperly influencing a Third Party or Worker to
obtain or retain business or a business advantage, or to reward the provision or retention of business or a business advantage, or in explicit or implicit exchange for favours or benefits;
- must comply with local law in all relevant countries;
- must be given in the name of the organisation, not in an individual’s name;
- must not include cash or a cash equivalent;
- must be appropriate in the circumstances;
- must be of an appropriate type and value and given at an appropriate time taking into account
the reason for the gift;
- must be given openly, not secretly; and
- in the case of gifts, they must not be offered to, or accepted from, government officials or
representatives, politicians or political parties, without the Companies prior approval.
We appreciate that the practice of giving business gifts varies between countries and regions and what may be normal and acceptable in one region may not be in another. The test to be applied is whether in all the circumstances the gift or hospitality is reasonable and justifiable both in the UK and any other relevant country. The intention behind the gift should always be considered.
What is not acceptable?
It is not acceptable for any Worker (or someone on their behalf) to:
- give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality with the expectation or hope that they or we will improperly be given a business advantage, or as a reward for a business advantage already improperly given;
- give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality to a government official, agent or representative to facilitate or expedite a routine procedure;
- accept payment from a Third Party where it is known or suspected that it is offered or given with the expectation that the Third Party will improperly obtain a business advantage;
- accept a gift or hospitality from a Third Party where it is known or suspected that it is offered or provided with an expectation that a business advantage will be improperly provided by the us in return;
- threaten or retaliate against another Worker who has refused to commit a bribery offence or who has raised concerns under this policy; or
- engage in any activity that might lead to a breach of this policy.
Facilitation payments and “kickbacks”
We do not make, and will not accept, facilitation payments or “kickbacks” of any kind, such as small, unofficial payments made to secure or expedite a routine government action by a government official, or payments made in return for a business favour or advantage.
Charitable donations and sponsorship
We only make charitable donations and provides sponsorship that are legal and ethical under local laws and practices and which are in accordance with our internal policies and procedures.
We keep appropriate financial records and have appropriate internal controls in place which evidence the business reason for gifts, hospitality and payments made and received.
Responsibilities and raising concerns
The prevention, detection and reporting of bribery and other forms of corruption are the responsibility of all those working for us or under our control. All Workers are required to avoid any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of this policy
Workers are required to notify us as soon as possible if it is believed or suspected that a conflict with this policy has occurred, or may occur in the future, or if they are offered a bribe, are asked to make one, suspect that this may happen in the future, or believe that they are a victim of another form of unlawful activity.
Any employee who breaches this policy may face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct. We reserve our right to terminate our contractual relationship with non-employee Workers if they breach this policy.
If any Third Party is aware of any activity by any Worker which might lead to, or suggest, a breach of this policy, they should raise their concerns with us.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and sets out our policy. It should not be taken as legal advice.