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the Bribery Act

3 December 2010

The new offence, which comes into force in April 2011, of “failing to prevent bribery” is a particular concern for businesses. This week there has been a discussion as to whether EU procurement rules, which could ban convicted companies from bidding for large public contracts if the company has been convicted of a bribery offence, will be disapplied in circumstances where despite a management failure to prevent bribery, there was no intention to commit an offence.

The Law Society recently published its response to proposed guidance on ‘adequate procedures’ a company needs to take to prevent persons associated with them from engaging in bribery. They make a number of recommendations and state they are ‘concerned that, particularly for smaller firms, the lack of practical guidance will make putting in place adequate procedures difficult’.

The Bribery Act is undoubtedly a step forward in reducing corruption in business transactions, however many businesses are concerned that without clear, practical guidance UK firms will be at a competitive disadvantage.

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