What criminal offences are created by the Bribery Act 2010?

The Bribery Act 2010 makes it an offence to offer, promise or give a bribe. It is also an offence to request, agree to receive, or accept a bribe.

A bribe is a financial or other advantage that is offered or requested with the intention of inducing or rewarding the improper performance of a relevant function or activity, or with the knowledge or belief that the acceptance of such an advantage would constitute the improper performance of such a function or activity.

A relevant function or activity is:

  • any function of a public nature;
  • any activity connected with a business;
  • any activity performed in the course of a person's employment; or
  • any activity performed by or on behalf of a body of persons,

where the person performing it is expected to perform it in good faith, is expected to perform it impartially, or is in a position of trust by virtue of performing it.

Section 6 of the Act creates a separate offence of bribing a foreign public official with the intention of obtaining or retaining business or an advantage in the conduct of business.

There is also a corporate offence under s.7 of failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery that is intended to obtain or retain business, or an advantage in the conduct of business, for the organisation. An organisation will have a defence to this corporate offence if it can show that it had in place "adequate procedures" designed to prevent bribery by or of persons associated with the organisation. Employers should therefore implement measures to prevent their employees or agents, or anyone else who provides services on their behalf, from being involved in bribery.