What procedures does your organisation need to have in place to form a defence to a section 7 offence?

In accordance with Section 9 of the Act the Ministry of Justice has published detailed guidance about the procedures relevant commercial organisations can put in place to prevent persons associated with them from bribing. Additionally they have also published a 'quick start' guide aimed at SME's. These guides can be downloaded below.

The preventative procedures required by individual organisations will vary greatly depending on their size, structure and business sector. Clearly micro businesses in some sectors that carry out all its services without using 3rd parties will require little or no new procedures other than making their employees aware of the Act. Conversely the majority of organisations will have to consider a number of the procedures detailed in the guidance.

The guidance details preventative procedures under six broad management principles to help relevant organisations decide what they can do in order to demonstrate they have adequate Bribery prevention procedures in place to form a defence to prosecution. The principles are detailed under the following headings:

Principle 1 Proportionate Procedures

A commercial organisation's procedures to prevent bribery by persons associated with it are proportionate to the bribery risks it faces and to the nature, scale and complexity of the commercial organisation's activities. They are also clear, practical, accessible, effectively implemented and enforced.

Principle 2 Top-level commitment

The top level management of a commercial organisation (be it a board of directors, the owners or any other equivalent body or person) are committed to preventing bribery by persons associated with it. They foster a culture within the organisation in which bribery is never acceptable.

Principle 3 Risk Assessment

The commercial organisation assesses the nature and extent of its exposure to potential external and internal risks of bribery on its behalf by persons associated with it. The assessment is periodic, informed and documented.

Principle 4 - Due Diligence

The commercial organisation applies due diligence procedures, taking a proportionate and risk based approach, in respect of persons who perform or will perform services for or on behalf of the organisation in order to mitigate identified bribery risks.

Principle 5 - Communication (including training)

The commercial organisation seeks to ensure that its bribery prevention policies and procedures are embedded and understood throughout the organisation through internal and external communication, including training, that is proportionate to the risks it faces.

Principle 6 - Monitoring and review

The commercial organisation monitors and reviews procedures designed to prevent bribery by persons associated with it and makes improvements where necessary.

Training is specifically mentioned in the guidance under Principle 5. If your business operates within the risk areas it is clear that all relevant personnel working on behalf of your organisation will require proportionate training to ensure that they are aware of and understand:

  • The threats posed by bribery in general.
  • The Bribery Act 2010 itself and how it may affect their organisation.
  • The specific risks relating to the sector in which their organisation operates.
  • The bribery preventions measures in place in their organisation.

Useful Links

Bribery Act 2010
Bribery Act 2010 - Guidance
Bribery Act 2010 - Quick start guide