BUSINESSES concerned about the introduction of the Bribery Act can breathe a small sigh of relief, but not totally relax.
That’s the message from Andrew Shipley, of Roythornes Solicitors, who was commenting on the publication of the long-awaited guidance on the Bribery Act, which is now due to come into force on July 1, 2011.
The Act aims to remove bribery and corruption from business practices, and initial fears were that it could stop many of the business practices needed to keep trade moving, such as facilitation payments and corporate hospitality.
The guidelines just published, however, show that the Government will take a more pragmatic approach, and seem to have listened to some of the business concerns.
Speaking about the Act, Andrew said: “Of course, no one wants bribery and corruption to play any part in business, but to burden businesses with yet more bureaucracy in these difficult times was never a good idea.”
However, he added: “businesses have to develop policies and procedures and train their staff to report any situations where problems occur. It will be down to the business to show that it has taken all reasonable steps to prevent bribery within their organisation, and if they have not done so, the fines could be crippling.”