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On the 30 March 2011, the Ministry of Justice issued its final guidance on the Bribery Act and announced that the Act will come into force from 1 July 2011. The guidance aims to help commercial organisations understand what types of procedures and policies they should consider putting in place to prevent bribery.

The guidance is principles-based and provides suggested procedures with each principle:

  • Principle 1: Proportionate procedures
  • Principle 2: Top level commitment
  • Principle 3: Risk assessment
  • Principle 4: Due diligence
  • Principle 5: Communication
  • Principle 6: Monitoring and review

PLC (Practical Law Company) has published a useful outline and summary on the guidance and the Serious Fraud Office's recently published prosecution guidance. Both are free to access.

With the announcement of the guidance, Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, confirmed in an interview with the Financial Times that having a listing in London would not neccessarily mean that a foreign company would have to follow the new Act. However, the scope of the Act and the definition of 'carries out business' has not been fully clarified within the guidance, with it noting that this will be left for the courts to decide.

We will shortly be carrying out a survey of our corporate membership to find out what smaller companies think about the Act and the guidance and what they plan on doing about. We are also keen to hear from members about whether they would like further information on this in the form of guidance or events from the QCA on this subject. Look out for an email shortly on this.

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