Bribery Act 2010

 
Existing bribery provisions have been consolidated to cover bribery in the uk and abroad for both private and public sector entities but have also introduced an entirely new offence of failing to prevent bribery. The final guidance was published on 31 March 2011 and the law came into force on 1 July 2011.
 
The bribery offences are as follows:
 
   *  An active offence of giving bribes ie promising, offering or giving
       bribes whether directly or indirectly.
 
   *  A passive offence of receiving bribes ie requesting, receiving or agreeing to receive a bribe.
 
   *  A public offence of bribery of a foreign public official, the definition of which includes foreign
       government officials and also individuals working for international organisations. 
 
   *  A corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery where a commercial organisation may be guilty
       if someone acting on its behalf commits either an active offence or a passive offence, and
 
   *  A liability of senior officers who may be personally guilty if they consent to or connive in an
       active, passive or public offence.
 
What is a Bribe
A bribe is described very broadly as an offer, a promise or the giving of any financial or other advantage intended to induce or reward improper performance of a business activity or a publice function, and improper performance would cover any act or omission that breaches any expectation of good faith or impartiality or expectation arising as a result of holding a position of trust. It has been described as an objective test based on what a reasonable person in the UK would expect in relation to the performance of a relevant activity.
 
The new offence will be committed if the bribery is committed by someone associated with the commercial organisation, with an intention of securing a business advantage for the organisation and the corporate offence can be applied even if the individual concerned is not prosecuted.  The bribery could have been committed anywhere and not simply in the UK.
 
It will be necessary for organisations to demonstrate that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent persons associated with the organisation from bribing others on its behalf. It will be necessary (on what is called a "proportionate" basis) for organisations to consider the following:
 
   *  Carry out risk assessment and appropriate due diligence
 
   *  Senior officers of the company need to consider what needs to be done
 
   *  An anti-bribery policy should be published and employment contracts amended as necessary