Businesses Still Unsure Of Bribery Rules

Irwin Mitchell Research Reveals Uncertainty Over Act


Less than half of small to medium sized businesses believe they are compliant with the Bribery Act despite the legislation set to come into force this week (1st July 2011).

A snapshot survey of SMEs conducted by law firm Irwin Mitchell in the lead up to the Act being implemented has revealed that there is still much uncertainty amongst businesses with mixed feelings over the impact on the UK’s trade and uncertainty over whether businesses are compliant.

The Bribery Act is due to come into force from 1 July 2011 and will provide the UK with some of the world’s toughest anti-corruption laws. The Irwin Mitchell survey found that:

  • 45 per cent of SMEs were not sure if their business was compliant with 13 per cent claiming that their business was not ready for the Act.
  • 42 per cent of respondents said that their business was compliant with the Bribery Act.
  • Only 6 per cent said that the Act will affect the way they do business in the future. Over half (53 per cent) said that it wouldn’t.
  • 20 per cent feel the Act will have a negative impact on UK business both domestically and abroad – but over a third (36 per cent) said it would not.
  • Only 17 per cent said that the recently produced guidelines were not useful. The majority (60 per cent) were unsure.

Kevin Robinson, a Partner and leading business fraud expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “It is worrying that on implementation date there is still confusion as to how the Bribery Act will affect businesses.

“More than half of businesses admit that they are not ready for the Act or are not sure if they are compliant, however alongside this an alarming number of businesses believe they will not be affected.”

He said the results showed that businesses believe international trade could be hit as only a third believed that the Act would not have a negative impact.

Kevin added: “Despite media headlines highlighting the corporate hospitality culture as the risky area - only three per cent of respondents to our survey thought the Act would make it more difficult to win work and maintain existing business relationships. It shows that not everyone has succumbed to the scare tactic commentaries spelling out the doom and gloom for building client relationships.”