Guidance published on new Bribery Act

The Government has published its guidance on the new Bribery Act. The Act is due to come into force on 1 July and will be implemented in what Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, described as a workable and common sense way.

Worries had been raised over the legality of corporate hospitality under the Act. In other words, could business owners step the wrong side of the law just by entertaining their clients? The new guidance suggests that such concerns may be misplaced. Usual ways of entertaining clients shouldn’t fall foul of the legislation. Indeed, SMEs will only need to implement new policies if they think they are at high risk of exposure to bribery. Conducting business or work in countries with a known culture of corruption would be an example.

Mr Clarke said: “Without changing the substance of the Act, this guidance should save organisations of all sizes from the fears sometimes aroused by the compliance industry that millions of pounds must be spent on new systems that, in my opinion, no honest business will require in response to the commencement of this Act.”

The guidance can be found at http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/bribery.htm