David Gibson Crutes

Member Article

The danger of backhanders

The Tipster is always interested to see how legislation beds down and how the courts can initially struggle with new challenges. It tends to ensure that some interesting cases are thrown up.

The Tipster has been keeping a weather eye on developments in relation to the Bribery Act 2010. Some of you may be aware that late last year an employee was convicted of bribery and misconduct after falling foul of the new legislation. An Administrative Officer at Redbridge Magistrates Court accepted a £500 bribe to “sort out and get rid” of a speeding charge. Although the employee pleaded guilty there was no leniency shown by the court. He was sentenced to 3 years for bribery and 6 years for misconduct within a public office (to be served concurrently).

As you will probably be aware from the plethora of information that came forth from lawyers last year senior management can also attract liability for the actions of more junior members of staff with major repercussions, including criminal sanction.

Lets be honest - times are tight at the present time and employees may feel the need to cut corners in order to maybe secure a deal or return a favour. This could seriously expose a company.

It is imperative that employees are reminded of the provisions of the Bribery Act and the heavyweight ramifications of breach.

It is clear that if you accept a ticket to watch the football it is not necessarily going to be seen as an act of bribery but if it is part of a general procedure of “softening up” or could lead to something else, then a watchful eye needs to be kept on the situation.

Good training with regular reminders will ensure that the message becomes part of the culture of the organisation and hopefully you will not have to face the embarrassment of criminal sanction.

As ever, transparency and good communication is key. So for your New Year’s resolution?:-

  • Make sure your Bribery Act policy is in place.
  • Communicate it effectively to employees.
  • Make sure all matters where there is an indication of potential bribery are fully investigated and dealt with.
  • Be open and transparent in your communications and business dealings.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by David Gibson .

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