Bribery Act Changes Considered By Government

Leading Lawyer Comments On Latest Announcement


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The Bribery Act could be reviewed in order to make it easier for companies based in the UK to export, according to report.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is inviting  industry leaders to comment on whether the Act has had an impact on their attempts to export.

They are also asking if guidance issued to help businesses avoid problems under the Act is useful and calling for suggestions to clarify the information.

Since becoming law in 2011, opponents to the Bribery Act have said that the requirements for companies is tougher than in other countries. 

Commenting on the announcement, Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills, said:

“Bribery is morally and legally wrong and businesses have been supportive of the principles of the Act. With the majority of other countries’ rules more flexible than the UK’s, some businesses are being put at a competitive disadvantage when operating in global markets.

“That’s why we are pleased that the Government has decided to review the impact of the Act, which we’ve long been calling for. It should focus on how to tackle corruption while protecting the UK’s competitiveness.”

Expert Opinion
"The UK is adopting a tough stance against bribery and corruption and I think it is inconceivable that the Bribery Act will be relaxed or repealed in any material way. Given the cut backs in funding to the police and prosecution agencies, the policy that businesses are effective gatekeepers of tackling financial crime is also unlikely to be changed.

"There is a movement to bring in legislation that businesses should have adequate procedures in place to guard against all financial crime, not just corruption, similar to firms which are regulated by the FCA that have that regulatory requirement.

"Unfortunately though the availability of government funding for the prosecution agencies to investigate financial crime on a wider scale, like what we see in America, is probably years away. But, just because BIS is consulting on the Bribery Act does not mean that businesses should be lulled into a false sense of security with their anti-bribery compliance . With the 5th anniversary of the Bribery Act approaching, my concern for businesses is they should be doing a deeper dive as to whether their systems and controls are adequate."
Sarah Wallace, Partner