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bribery act

The Bribery Act 2010 was given Royal Assent in July 2011; statutory guidance has also been issued. Many charities have taken the view that the legislation applies only to enterprises trading for profit and/or operating in international markets; these charities’ interpretation of the phrase “commercial organisations” used in the Act is at odds with the MOJ view.

The statutory guidance is clear that, "...any incorporated body which engages in “business”, regardless of the purpose for which profit is made, are caught by the provisions of the Act". Charities are explicitly referred to in the Statutory Guidance as being within the scope of the Act. It is implicit in the guidance that entering into any form of contract constitutes trading, be that for the receipt of goods and services, the supply of goods and services, employment, etc., constitutes conducting business.

Failure to prevent bribery will result in a criminal conviction for those responsible for the governance of the organisation, i.e. Trustees, resulting in up to ten years imprisonment and unlimited fines.  If you are responsible for governance, you are also accountable under the Act for those who are not employees but who represent the organisation.

Four offences were created by the Act, these are:

  • Offering or giving a bribe;
  • Requesting or receiving a bribe;
  • Bribery of a foreign official; and
  • Failure by an organisation to prevent bribery.

Well governed charities will already be taking account of the spirit of the Act in their governance framework; however, even they may not have addressed the specific requirements of the Act.  There is only one defence for those charged with governance; proportionate procedures, taking account of a range of matters, need to be in place in advance of any report of bribery.

Services include:

  • Bribery risk assessment;
  • Review of existing, and preparation of proportionate, procedures;
  • Communication and training strategies; and
  • Monitoring and review processes.


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  • Governance review;
  • Constitutional compliance review;
  • Board evaluation;
  • Facilitated strategic planning;
  • Strategic project management;
  • Board and senior management training


  • Review of risk management;
  • Embedding risk management;
  • Risk analysis;
  • Risk management training;
  • Risk audit.


  • Policy formulation and analysis;
  • Process review & restructuring;
  • Policy/regulatory review;
  • Internal audit service;
  • Independent examination (charities);
  • Due diligence.