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Key points

The Bribery Act 2010:

  • introduced a corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery by anyone working on behalf of a business. Businesses can only avoid conviction if they can show that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery
  • made it a criminal offence to give, promise or offer a bribe, agree to receive or accept a bribe either at home or abroad
  • increased the maximum penalty for bribery from seven to 10 years imprisonment, with an unlimited fine.

The Bribery Act 2010 aims to promote anti-bribery practices amongst businesses, and came into force on 1 July 2011. An organisation will commit a criminal offence, if it fails to prevent bribery that is intended to get or keep business or an advantage in the conduct of business for the organisation.

Organisations need to take steps to address the risks of bribery; they need to demonstrate that they have put clear, practical bribery prevention policies and procedures in place.

There are two general offences: the first covers the offering, promising or giving of a bribe - active bribery; and the second is passive bribery - requesting, agreeing to receive, or the accepting of a bribe.