Law firm Burges Salmon have released ten tips to make sure SMEs comply with the Bribery Act, which comes into force in July this year.Thomas Webb, an associate at the firm explains why it’s important. “The Bribery Act 2010 overhauls the law on bribery and with a good deal of practical guidance already available, many businesses have the essential preparations well underway,” he says. “However, some SMEs in particular have yet to turn their attention to the Bribery Act and the potentially significant effect it will have on them. It is therefore important to take action now.” The firm advises you take the following steps: 1. Set out a risk identification programme. Ensure risk identification exercises have been carried out internally in order to highlight key areas of vulnerability and high risk practice. 2. Look at the culture and management set up. What steps are being taken to ensure that an anti-corruption culture is being disseminated throughout the business? Has a director or senior level manager been appointed to oversee corruption issues? 3. Has an overarching anti-bribery policy document been drafted and published within the business? The policy should refer to the business’ existing policies/codes where relevant. 4. Have you checked the contractual arrangements? Do director and employee contacts and agency and sub-contractor contacts expressly prohibit any form of bribery, including any form made illegal by the Bribery Act? 5. Have you offered training to increase awareness? Do you, your board of directors and your staff understand the new offences? If not, how will a training programme be delivered to the relevant staff? 6. Are you undertaking due diligence? Make sure your new employees, agents, sub-contractors and other business partners as well as new acquisitions are properly vetted for the purpose of mitigating corruption risk. 7. Is there a clear mechanism by which employees may report their concerns? Employees should be able to report their concerns regarding bribery to appropriate senior personnel. 8. Is there a clearly established investigatory procedure carried out by a suitably qualified and impartial person? A non-executive director may be appropriate for this role. 9. Have you thought about monitoring and reviewing procedures? Mechanisms should be in place to ensure that your risk analysis and policies are regularly reviewed at a senior level and updated. 10. Do you need to consider external advice? Would it be prudent to appoint an external legal advisor to review and advise on the business’ approach to anti-corruption? Have you made preparations for the introduction of the Bribery Act? Or do you believe it won’t affect your business? Leave your comments below.
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