Under the Bribery Act we are obliged to have a policy in place to protect us from claims of breaching the provisions in the Act. This policy is a statement of how we comply with the law.
AJ Bicât does not condone bribery of any kind. It is our policy to conduct business in an open and honest manner, without engaging in corrupt practices to obtain unfair advantage.
Bribery is giving someone a financial or other advantage to encourage them to perform functions or activities improperly, or rewarding that person for having already done so thus:
- Active Bribery (offering to bribe another)
- Passive Bribery (accepting/requesting a bribe)
- Failure to prevent Bribery (committed by an organization that fails to prevent bribery by any ‘person’ associated with it).
Consequences for AJ Bicât
If AJ Bicât or any of its staff are found to have committed an offence under the Act the potential consequences include:
- Up to 10 years imprisonment for the individuals involved
- Unlimited fines
- A ban from bidding for future research and other public contracts
- Damage to reputation and loss of public trust and confidence
- Potential loss of UKBA ‘highly trusted’ status
- Regulatory issues (HEFCE)
Areas of particular risk for AJ Bicât
Below are areas of risk that are more specific to AJ Bicât:
The giving or receiving of genuine and proportionate hospitality or expenditure, which seeks to improve AJ Bicât’s image, or better present its services, or establish good relations, continues to be acceptable. Care should be taken in relation to proportionality – for example while it may be acceptable for a prospective partner to pay for reasonable travel and accommodation costs to enable a visit to their premises, first class flights would not normally be acceptable, nor would five-star accommodation. Attention should also be paid not just to the value of an individual expenditure, but the cumulative total from/to any one particular party.
Donations must be clearly documented. Any potential conflict of interest must be identified. If there is any suggestion that favourable treatment of any kind is expected in return for the donation (e.g. good marks for a current Participant, or a promise of a place to a prospective facilitator) then the donation must be refused.
High Risk Jurisdictions & Sectors
It is not a defence to an accusation of bribery to say that bribes are the accepted practice in another jurisdiction or sector within which you are doing business. Facilitation payments are illegal (though the use of any recognised fast-track process that is publicly available on payment of a fee continues to be acceptable).
We have no subsidiary companies, however there are ‘associated persons’ (e.g. contractors). Under the Act any failure on their part to comply with the legislation could result in liability for AJ Bicât also. Associated persons are required to adopt the policies and procedures set out in this document and any amendments approved from time-to-time by AJ Bicât.
Following AJ Bicât’s usual procedures in relation to due diligence and appropriate approvals will minimise any risk for Institutional Agreements, articulation agreements and representative agreements. Where there is no established process, due diligence must still be carried out and attention should be paid to this policy and to these links for overseas parties:
Domestic and international collaborations will still need scrutiny, but the Act will normally apply to any UK entity with whom we are doing business, so the easiest step will be to ask for a copy of their anti-bribery policy for consideration.
In some circumstances it will be a defence for AJ Bicât to show that it has adequate procedures in place. AJ Bicât’s adequate procedures will include:
- Setting out a clear anti-bribery policy
- Training relevant employees so that they can recognise and avoid the use of bribery by themselves and others
- Encouraging employees to be vigilant and to report any suspicions of bribery, providing them with suitable channels of communication and ensuring sensitive information is treated appropriately
- Carrying out due diligence of existing and prospective associated persons (those who perform services on behalf of AJ Bicât)
- Avoiding conflict of interests and ensuring transparency of transactions and decision making (and keeping appropriate records)
- Implementing appropriate sanctions for those who do not follow this anti-bribery policy
- Monitoring and reviewing these procedures.
If you become aware of any activity or conduct which you suspect may involve a bribe or corruption of some kind, you should report it to your line-manager, the director of the company, the Mindfulness Initiative and/or if necessary a reputable news outlet.
The Bribery Act can be found at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/23/contents and the full guidance to The Act at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/guidance/making-reviewing-law/bribery-act-2010- guidance.pdf