Industry Survey Reveals Bribery Act will Impact on Business Models
19 May 2011
LONDON, 09 May 2011 - More than 95 per cent of businesses think the Bribery Act 2010 will require them to undertake at least some procedural changes, according to a recent survey conducted by Hogan Lovells.
In the wake of the Bribery Act 2010, Hogan Lovells surveyed a number of its clients, working across a number of sectors, to investigate how the introduction of the legislation would impact on businesses across the UK.
Of those surveyed, 67 per cent revealed that there is a definite 'buy-in' from the board and senior managers with regards to bribery and corruption matters. The findings also suggested that the Act would not only have an impact on the UK market, after 78 per cent of respondents confirmed that they would be applying any procedural changes made on the back of the Bribery Act 2010 as a uniform standard worldwide, including overseas offices and subsidiary business partners.
The Ministry of Justice ("MoJ") published its long-awaited guidance on the Bribery Act 2010 (the "Act") on 30 March 2011 and confirmed that the Act will come into force on 1 July 2011.
The guidance offers some comfort in a number of key areas which have been the subject of extensive debate and speculation in recent months. This includes:
• the extent of acceptable corporate hospitality;
• the meaning of "associated persons", including the application of the Act to subsidiaries and joint ventures;
• the jurisdictional scope of the Act, including the extent to which foreign parents will be subject to the Act simply by virtue of having a UK subsidiary; and
• the meaning of "adequate procedures" for the purposes of the new strict liability corporate offence.
Throughout the guidance, the MoJ emphasises that compliance is "largely about common sense, not burdensome procedures". However, the MoJ also acknowledges that many of these issues are fact-sensitive and will ultimately need to be tested by the courts.
A total of 67 per cent of those surveyed by Hogan Lovells recognised that the MoJ guidance provided reassurance to corporates seeking to comply with the legislation.
In the meantime, businesses now have just weeks to review their policies and procedures and to ensure that they meet the standard being set by this new legislation.
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