On 30 March 2011 the Ministry of Justice announced that the Bribery Act will come into force on 1 July 2011. Implementation had been delayed to allow for the drawing up of guidance on ‘adequate procedures’: this guidance has now been published. The business community has been given three months to digest the new information and ensure that procedures are up to scratch before 1 July.
The guidance outlines the principles underlying the Act and details the offences which have been created. It also provides information on what measures businesses can take to ensure that they effectively guard against the dangers of corruption. Those with ‘adequate procedures’ in place will also have a defence to the offence of ‘failing to prevent bribery’, so the guidance is essential reading. There is also a separate ‘quick start’ guide which is designed to be a more concise introduction to the new laws for those in small businesses.
In his foreword to the guidance, the Justice Secretary Ken Clarke explains that combating the risks of bribery is “largely about common sense, not burdensome procedures”. The business community will learn whether or not the Act upholds this approach in the months to come.
Head of Corporate & Commercial