Employment Lawyer Support
Employer lawyer help, support and assistance

Employment Lawyer



Employment Lawyer Advice : Avoiding a conviction under UK Bribery Act

The UK courts have successfully issued their first prosecution under the requirements of the UK Bribery Act 2010. A clerk at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court recently pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office and accepting a bribe of £500 for not entering details of a driving offence onto a court database. A three year prison sentence has been issued under the Bribery Act with an additional six year prison sentence for the offence of misconduct in public office. These sentences will run one after another with a total sentence of 9 years imprisonment imposed.

Not only is it likely that this conviction will encourage prosecutors to regard the provisions set out by the Bribery Act as a useful instrument in their fight against corruption within public office, but also the weight of the sentence imposed by the judge sends a clear message that anyone engaging in activities such as this will be dealt with severely by the courts.

In order to ensure employees fully understand and acknowledge the regulations set out by the UK Bribery Act 2010, organisations should ensure their policy on the subject is accessible and that it clearly defines what is considered to be unacceptable behaviour with regards to the regulations laid out by the Act. Organisations may also want to consider how they clarify their approach to hospitality to ensure there are no conflictions in policies and the legal restrictions are clear. Furthermore, in order to prevent bribery within an organisation, the UK Ministry of Justice has provided guidance on adequate procedures to follow.

Firstly, employers should ensure they apply procedures that are proportionate to the risk faced, which following this recent conviction is high. Senior Management should adopt a culture of zero tolerance and lead by example through top level commitment. In addition to this, employers should ensure risk assessments are carried out to identify the risk of potential bribery. Undertaking due diligence when entering into new relationships or markets is also a key measure organisations should take in order to reduce the risk of bribery.

As mentioned previously, the communication of the organisations policy to all relevant parties is essential, and organisations should consider providing employees with the opportunity to ask questions and raise any concerns that they may have to ensure clarification and understanding. Lastly, organisations should continually monitor and review their procedures to ensure changing markets, clients and circumstances do not increase the risk of bribery over time.