Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy Guide & Template

Published:

Sep 15, 2022

An anti-bribery and corruption policy (also known as an ABC policy) is an internal policy document used by employers to outline the company's position on a variety of matters relating to corruption.

Consequently, your company should adopt an anti-bribery and corruption policy if there is a risk that a member of your staff - or even just a contractor that you engage - might or could be exposed to bribery.

It is essential to create an anti-bribery and corruption policy for organisations to promote integrity, transparency, and compliance with laws and regulations to your key stakeholders as well - to demonstrate that they are a company they can trust.

Top Policy Features

☑ Demonstrates a commitment to ethical behaviour as an anti-bribery policy can enhance the organisation's reputation - making it more attractive to customers, investors, and partners.

☑ Adhering to anti-bribery policies ensures compliance with relevant laws and regulations - which can, in turn, reduce the risk of legal penalties and regulatory scrutiny.

☑ By establishing clear guidelines and procedures for handling bribery-related issues, your organisation can mitigate the risk of being involved in corrupt activities or facing associated consequences.

☑ Anti-bribery policies promote fair competition and integrity in business dealings, fostering trust and stronger relationships with your stakeholders - this can include, for instance, your clients, suppliers, and employees.

☑ Preventing bribery helps protect your organisation's assets, including financial resources, intellectual property, and reputation, from being compromised or misappropriated.

☑ Investors and financial institutions often prefer to support organisations with solid governance frameworks, including anti-bribery measures - which in turn and indirectly help you get access to financing and investment opportunities due to being more trustworthy.


Table of Contents

  • When Should You Use An Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

  • What is an Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy?

  • Why is an Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy Necessary?

  • Who is Covered by the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

  • What are the critical components of an Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy?

  • How does the Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy align with the organisation's values and culture?

  • What Training and Awareness Programmes Can be Provided to Employees Regarding the Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy?

  • How Should Gifts, Entertainment, and Hospitality be Addressed in the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

  • How Should the Process for Reporting Suspected Instances of Bribery or Corruption be Handled?

  • How are Third-party Relationships Managed to Prevent Bribery and Corruption?

  • What Role Does Senior Management Play in Enforcing the Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy?

  • How Often Should the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy be Reviewed and Updated?

  • What Support and Resources are Available to Employees for Navigating Ethical Dilemmas?

  • What are the Consequences of Employees Violating the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

  • Anti-Bribery and Corruption Legal Penalties?

  • How Are Risks of Bribery and Corruption Identified and Assessed?

  • What Are The Common Pitfalls When Adopting an Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

  • Whistleblowing Policy

  • Need to Create Your Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy Template?



When Should You Use An Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

The policy serves two essential purposes. 

Firstly, it helps prevent employees, contractors and workers from committing bribery or corruption offences by providing clear guidance and rules that must be followed. 

Secondly, it can help demonstrate that your company has "adequate procedures" in place to prevent bribery and corruption offences from occurring. 

These "adequate procedures" are essential as it is a potential defence in the event that a member of staff commits an offence under the Bribery Act 2010 (the Bribery Act) in the UK, EU legislation on anti-corruption, or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in the US.

An anti-bribery and corruption policy will, amongst other things, explain what constitutes bribery, set out the company's rules in relation to gifts and hospitality and explain how staff can report concerns about, or instances of, bribery. 

What is an Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy?

An Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy is a formal document that outlines your organisation's commitment to preventing bribery and corrupt practices. 

It establishes guidelines, procedures, and expectations for employees, management, and stakeholders regarding ethical conduct, compliance with relevant laws, and reporting mechanisms for suspected misconduct.


Why is an Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy Necessary?

Implementing an Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy is crucial for organisations to demonstrate your commitment to integrity, compliance, and just ethical business practices on the whole.

For instance, it helps you mitigate the risk of legal violations, reputational damage, financial losses, and regulatory scrutiny associated with bribery and corruption.


Who is Covered by the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

The Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy typically applies to all individuals associated with the organisation, including but not limited to:

  • Employees

  • Contractors

  • Agents

  • Suppliers

  • Partners

  • Third-party representatives. 

These are designed to set clear expectations for ethical behaviour and compliance with anti-bribery laws and regulations.


What are the key components of an Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy?

When it comes to the critical areas of your Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy, a comprehensive policy could include:

  • A statement of commitment from senior management

  • Definitions of bribery and corruption

  • Guidance on gifts and hospitality

  • Procedures for due diligence and risk assessment

  • Reporting mechanisms for suspected violations

  • Disciplinary measures

  • Training requirements


How does the Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy align with the organisation's values and culture?

The Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy helps to reinforce the organisation's values around:

  1. Integrity

  2. Accountability

  3. Transparency

  4. Fairness

Promoting ethical conduct and zero tolerance for bribery and corruption helps you and your senior management team create a culture of compliance and trust among your employees and stakeholders.


What Training and Awareness Programmes Can be Provided to Employees Regarding the Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy?

This can vary between jurisdictions and also to what level of risk you feel as an organisation you are facing.

However, organisations should offer regular training sessions and awareness programmes, even if it is to educate your employees about the Anti-bribery and Corruption Policies they have in place.

These should include, for instance, their purpose, fundamental principles, reporting procedures, and consequences of non-compliance.

This is because this training helps you reinforce ethical behaviour throughout your organisation and ensure understanding of your policy requirements to everybody affected by it.


How Should Gifts, Entertainment, and Hospitality be Addressed in the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

The policy should guide acceptable practices regarding gifts, entertainment, and hospitality. 

This guidance could emphasise how transparency, proportionality, and compliance with applicable laws need to be followed.

It may also establish thresholds for reporting and approval of gifts and require documentation to mitigate the risk of bribery being seen, even indirectly, due to these actions.


How Should the Process for Reporting Suspected Instances of Bribery or Corruption be Handled?

The Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy should outline precise procedures for reporting suspected instances of bribery or corruption, including, but not limited to:

  • Designated reporting channels

  • Confidentiality protections

  • Non-retaliation assurances

  • How employees are encouraged to report concerns promptly to appropriate authorities for investigation.


How are Third-party Relationships Managed to Prevent Bribery and Corruption?

The policy should establish due diligence procedures for evaluating third-party partners, suppliers, agents, and consultants to ensure they adhere to anti-bribery standards. 

Contracts and agreements with third parties should be included in anti-corruption clauses, compliance obligations, and monitoring mechanisms to help make them as compliant and detailed as possible.


What Role Does Senior Management Play in Enforcing the Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy?

Senior management is totally responsible for demonstrating leadership and commitment to the Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy by setting the tone from the top.

This could be in the sense of allocating resources for compliance efforts, monitoring effectiveness, providing training, and holding individuals accountable for any violations of your policy.


How Often Should the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy be Reviewed and Updated?

The policy should be reviewed periodically, and if not annually, to reflect changes in laws, regulations, your business operations, and emerging risks related to bribery and corruption.

These regular updates ensure that the policy remains relevant, effective, and aligned with the organisation's objectives and values as your business grows and expands.


What Support and Resources are Available to Employees for Navigating Ethical Dilemmas?

Where identified as part of your policy review, organisations should provide your employees with access to resources such as ethical hotlines, compliance officers, legal counsel, and whistleblower protection programmes to seek guidance and report concerns confidentially. 

These supportive mechanisms empower your employees to make ethical decisions and raise integrity concerns while making the policy stronger and taken more seriously.


What are the Consequences of Employees Violating the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

Violations for employees breaching your Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy may result in, but are not limited to:

  • Disciplinary action

  • Termination of employment

  • Legal consequences

  • Fines

  • Reputational damage

  • Loss of business opportunities

Consequently, employees need to understand the severity of non-compliance and the importance of adhering to the policy.


Anti-Bribery and Corruption Legal Penalties?

The penalties under the Bribery Act in the UK alone, for instance, are severe and can apply both to individuals and corporations.

For instance, there is a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and / or an unlimited fine for individuals.

Corporations, on the other hand, can be hit with an unlimited fine.  


Liable if you Fail to Prevent bribery

A corporation will be liable where it fails to prevent bribery by an "associated person".

In the most straightforward cases, this will occur where a senior employee (such as a managing director) commits a bribery offence. 

Due to the employee's senior position within the company, their actions will also be attributed to the company by default. 


Offence of the Actions of Your Service Providers 

More common, however, is for companies to commit an office as a result of the actions of your service providers (i.e. employees, agents, contractors) who commit bribery offences without the company's knowledge or consent.

In these cases, the company will be liable if it does not have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery. One of its service providers pays a bribe to get business, keep business, or gain a business advantage for the company. 

This was deemed to be the case in 2017 when Rolls Royce was fined approximately £671 million for, amongst other things, failing to prevent intermediaries from paying bribes in order to obtain lucrative engine and technology supply contracts in Indonesia, Nigeria, China and Malaysia. 


How Are Risks of Bribery and Corruption Identified and Assessed?

When it comes to you doing your risk identification and assessment, this normally involves you evaluating various factors where you do business, such as geographic locations, business activities, third-party relationships, and industry-specific risks. 

This process then helps you in identifying your bribery vulnerabilities and implement appropriate controls and mitigation strategies to prevent bribery and corruption from affecting you.


What Are The Common Pitfalls When Adopting an Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?

An anti-bribery and corruption policy should be appropriate for the company adopting it.

High Risk Areas

Companies operating in jurisdictions or sectors where there is a high risk of bribery occurring should have precisely drafted anti-bribery policies which set out how staff should act in commonly occurring situations. 

Policy Alone Will Not Fully Protect You

It is important to note that a policy alone will only prevent your organisation from committing an offence if the policy is communicated to staff or enforced within the company. 

Further, depending on the potential risk of bribery, it may be necessary to carry out anti-bribery and corruption training sessions with key staff members as well.

Whistleblowing Policy

Companies should also consider adopting a separate whistleblowing policy that can be referred to in your anti-bribery and corruption policy. 

A whistleblowing policy sets out the processes for your staff to report suspected wrongdoing within your company.

Furthermore, whistleblowing policies are commonly used in conjunction with anti-bribery and corruption policies, as with adequate and transparent processes for reporting bribery concerns, it will be possible to enforce insufficient anti-bribery and corruption procedures effectively. 

Disclaimer:
Please note: Pocketlaw is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm. So, should you have any legal questions on the content of this page, please get in touch with a qualified legal professional.

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