Failure to Prevent Bribery

Wednesday 21st March 2018

The Bribery Act 2010 creates an offence of failing to prevent bribery. This offence can be committed by an incorporated business or partnership if it can be proved that someone representing the ‘directing mind’ bribes, receives a bribe, or encourages someone else to do so.  A business has a defence to this charge if it can show that it had adequate procedures in place to prevent people associated with it from committing bribery.

In February 2018 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) secured its first conviction following a trial in which the defendant company (Skansen Interiors) raised an adequate procedures defence to a failure to prevent bribery charge.

The former managing director of Skansen secured two contracts worth £6 million having received information during the tender process giving them a competitive edge. Following being awarded the contracts, Skansen then made two payments totalling £10,000.

Skansen argued at trial that it had in place adequate procedures to prevent bribery which were proportionate with the size of its business. A jury at Southwark Crown Court disagreed  that the measures Skansen had put in place amounted to an adequate procedures defence.

This case did not involve a large multinational, but rather it concerned a small business. So where does this leave small and medium size enterprises?  As a start your business should periodically review its anti-bribery and corruption policies and procedures to ensure that they remain fit for purpose, especially as your business grows.

If you would like any advice or assistance with your adequate procedures please contact Andrew Logan on andrew.logan@gordonsllp.com or at 0113 227 0390.