Councils and Firms Warned as Bribery Act Toughens Up Law

Article excerpt

Byline: Ben Schofield

MERSEYSIDE businesses and councils are being warned they need to tighten their safeguards against corruption, after the Bribery Act passed into law.

The Act creates a new offence of failure to prevent bribery - a change that could land organisations in hot water if they have not put adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery in the workplace.

UK bribery laws have been criticised by the US for being out-dated. The new legislation, which received Royal Assent on April 8, sets out exactly what constitutes a bribe and is designed to boost Britain's anti-corruption laws.

It includes penalties of up to ten years' imprisonment and unlimited fines for those found guilty.

DLA Piper's Sarah Cleary, who is a partner in the firm's North West corporate crime and regulatory team, told LDP Legal: "The new Act has transformed the corporate regulatory landscape and has huge implications for business big or small.

"From now on, executives will have to effectively police their own business and hand the company into the authorities if they uncover any malpractice. The Serious Fraud Office has already issued guidelines on self-reporting.

"The legal advice being given to businesses is to put in place robust anti-bribery programmes. …