Bribery and corruption has been increasing across the business sector since the beginning of the twenty-first century. Consequently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UK Ministry of Justice, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act 2010 have instigated a commitment to putting an end to bribery and corruption. Therefore, there is now more guidance than ever to help individuals and businesses to avoid bribery and corruption.
How can implementing adequate procedures allow an organisation to avoid bribery and corruption?
The UK Bribery Act 2010 introduces "adequate procedures" in Section 9, these procedures aim to defend organisations against corruption and to offer guidance on how to avoid bribery and corruption.
The Ministry of Justice has published guidance to demonstrate that the implementation of adequate procedures can help an organisation to avoid bribery and corruption in the workplace. Therefore, if an organisation successfully implements adequate procedures into their organisation, then they should be able to avoid bribery and corruption.
1) Proportionate Procedures. An organisation should implement procedures which are proportionate to the types of risks which could affect the organisation. Thus, factors such as the size of the company and the industry in which the company rests, will affect the type of corruption risk. Consequently, procedures need to take this in to consideration.
2) Top-Level Commitment. The employees and associated persons within an organisation will only commit to anti-bribery and corruption policies seriously, if the board of directors commit to the policies as well. Therefore, there needs to be a demonstration from individuals at the top of an organisation to prove that bribery and corruption is not tolerated within their organisation.
3) Risk Assessment. An organisation needs to conduct a risk assessment across the organisation to identify where corruption may take place and why. As a result, an organisation will be able to identify the external and internal risks which they need to tackle.
4) Due Diligence. It is recommended that an organisation conducts a proportionate and risk-based approach to due diligence, and as a result this will allow the organisation to understand explicitly the individuals which they are dealing with. The Bribery Act states that organisations will be held liable for corruption conducted by associated persons, therefore the organisation needs to be aware of every single person they are conducting business with.
5) Communication. An organisation needs to ensure that all employees and associated persons understand and are aware of the anti-bribery and corruption policies in their organisation. This can be achieved through circulating the policies around the organisation through documentation, and also through offering training to the employees, to allow them to understand the policies.
6) Monitoring and Review. An organisation and its personnel are constantly changing, and therefore the types of risks which could affect the organisation will also be constantly changing. Thus, an organisation needs to review their anti-bribery and corruption policies to ensure that they are still effective.
What further steps can be taken to avoid bribery and corruption?
Avoiding bribery is the essential task of an individual and an organisation, if they want to avoid the penalties of the UK Bribery Act 2010. Therefore, an organisation needs to implement a robust anti-bribery and corruption policy in the workplace, and subsequently there needs to be a commitment to this policy from all employees and associated persons.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) have demonstrated a commitment to anti-bribery and corruption within the business sector, which has allowed them to effectively avoid bribery at any cost. Initially, in ADB's commitment to avoiding bribery, they published their corruption policies around the organisation. In effect, this is a demonstration of ADB complying to the adequate procedure "communication," as the policy is being well communicated to employees. ADB even worked with the OECD to create the "Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific."
Following the implementation of adequate procedures, ADB has demonstrated a commitment to investigating all of its employees and associated persons, including third-parties and agents, to remove any form of corruption from the organisation's contacts. In 2012 ADB recorded that they had removed 42 companies and 38 individuals from their organisation, by 2014 this had decreased to removing 31 companies and 30 individuals. This demonstrates ADB's commitment to the adequate procedure "monitoring and review," as they have re-investigated all associated persons to decide whether their conduct is in line with the organisation or not.
Clare Wee, leader of ADB's anti-corruption and integrity office, has highlighted ADB's commitment to noticing the red flags when they arise, allowing ADB to crackdown on any corrupt activity which has taken place.
Avoiding bribery and corruption is essential, therefore organisations and individuals should utilise the guidelines and advice that has been created to ensure that they are not liable for any offences.