Demystifying the Bribery Act 2010

Demystifying the Bribery Act 2010

Many may be unaware of the Bribery Act 2010, but it has massive ramifications for employer and employee alike and it is important for all businesses to familiarise themselves with the details of the act to ensure that they are not in breach of it.

It is important for firms to ensure they have adequate procedures in place and can demonstrate this through record keeping and audit practices. Markel Direct’s legal advisors suggest the following course of action for businesses to ensure they are not in breach of the act, nor at risk of wrongful allegations of bribery or corruption.

  1. Understand the key points of the Bribery Act 2010

    The Ministry of Justice has issued a summary of the Bribery Act 2010, available for download here.
  2. Risk assessment

    Carefully look at your business and consider areas which may need to change as they could be exposed to bribery, such as:

    • procurement
    • sales practices
    • customer interaction
    • hospitality
    • marketing
    • partnerships, joint ventures, outsourced arrangements
    • cash and credit handling procedures
    • charitable and political donations 
    Remember, you could potentially be implicated by the actions of companies you deal with 
  3. Internal systems and controls 

    • Review and amend guidance on hospitality, corporate gifts, charitable and political donations and other payments to third parties
    • Check existing payment authorisation processes and mechanisms for flagging unusual payments
    • Make sure that bribery checks are within the remit of internal audit
    • Check that appropriate whistle-blowing procedures are in place
  4. Control over third parties 

    • Consider use of standard anti-bribery clauses in contracts with third parties
    • Review what rights you have under existing contracts to ensure compliance with the Act by contractors
    • Carry out due diligence where appropriate 
  5. Training 

    • Raise awareness of what the Bribery Act 2010 requires to all relevant directors and employees
    • Consider extending training to joint venture partners, distributors etc
    • Keep an attendance record and do a follow-up assessment to ensure understanding
    • Make sure that internal compliance documentation is up-to-date, and is incorporated into contracts of employment
  6. Governance 

    • Ensure responsibility for prevention of bribery is held at a senior (preferably board) level
    • Make sure that reporting lines are well understood at all levels of the organisation
    • Check that bribery risks are appropriately identified and monitored, through regular reports to the board or risk committee

Directors and officers insurance from Markel Direct could defend you against wrongful allegations of bribery or corruption, as well as other scenarios. You can find out more about this and other products, including professional indemnity, employers liability, public and product liability (general liability), office buildings and contents and business interruption at

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