New corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery

The Bribery Act 2010 will introduce a corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery by persons working on behalf of a business, which comes into force in April 2011. 

The Act aims to simplify the law on bribery by individuals, by making it a criminal offence to give, promise or offer a bribe and to request, agree to receive or accept a bribe. It introduces a new offence of bribing a foreign public official. It is a defence for a business if it can show that it has put in place adequate procedures to prevent bribery. 

The Act raises the maximum penalty for individuals found guilty of bribery from seven to 10 years’ imprisonment, with an unlimited fine. 


Policy on accepting gifts Use this model policy as part of the company staff handbook or as part of employees' contracts of employment to set the rules on receiving gifts from customers, suppliers and others. 

Bribery: employee fairly dismissed for accepting laptop and printer from contractor In this case, the employment tribunal found that an employee who breached her employer’s inducements, gifts and favours policy was fairly dismissed. The case is a good example of circumstances that might be covered by the Bribery Act 2010 when it comes into force in April 2011.