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Implementing effective bribery prevention procedures

Authors: Edward Goodwyn and Neil McInnes, Pinsent Masons


  • The Bribery Act 2010 introduced criminal offences where a commercial organisation or an individual is involved in bribery. The Ministry of Justice has issued principles-based guidance to help organisations comply with the Act. (See The Bribery Act 2010 and Guiding principles)
  • Organisations will be in breach of the Bribery Act 2010 if they fail to prevent bribery by an associated person and cannot demonstrate that they had put in place adequate procedures to prevent bribery. HR can help the organisation to identify associated persons, who include all of its employees. (See Associated persons)
  • HR can be involved in the organisation's risk assessment on bribery, including conducting a risk assessment of the HR function to identify risks relating to its own activities. (See Risk assessments)
  • When involved in any risk assessment, HR should determine whether there is a risk of bribery arising from the organisation's recruitment procedures and if adequate procedures are in place to prevent those risks from materialising. (See Recruitment)
  • Similarly, HR should help the organisation to determine whether its remuneration structure, particularly where it pays employees a bonus for meeting their targets, may give rise to corruption risks, for example the risk that employees may engage in corrupt activities to win a contract or meet a target where they would benefit personally. Where these risks arise, HR should consider what safeguards relating to remuneration and bonus decisions would be appropriate. (See Bonus payments)
  • HR can help the organisation to put together appropriate policies and procedures on corporate gifts, hospitality and expenses. (See Gifts, hospitality and expenses)
  • The organisation should communicate its stance on bribery to associated persons. Senior management and HR should be involved in communicating the anti-bribery message, and employees should be given training on the employer's approach to bribery. Inserting anti-bribery provisions into contracts and policies and procedures should help the organisation to ensure that associated persons are aware of the organisation's approach to bribery. (See Raising awareness, Communicating the reasons for compliance, Training and Anti-bribery obligations)
  • The organisation should put in place whistleblowing procedures that help employees to feel confident about reporting concerns relating to bribery. (See Whistleblowing)
  • The organisation should take firm action once it discovers that an associated person has been involved in bribery. (See Taking action where bribery is identified)