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Anti-bribery policies: a ‘must’ or a ‘should’?

Recent case law re-emphasises that all businesses must comply with anti-money laundering and anti-bribery requirements. Read a blog by our lawyers Anthony Collins Solicitors...

Our legal advisers recommend all co-operatives, small or large, must ensure they have an anti-bribery policy in place which is monitored and enforced, a designated person to whom reports of concerns can be made, proper record keeping, and adequate staff training.

More reasons that disqualify an individual from acting as a trustee have being added - and the new rules also apply to some senior manager positions within charities. If your co-op is a registered charity, a charitable community benefit society, or a co-op that has a charitable subsidiary then it is important to understand the changes.

Who does it apply to?

All organisations including co-operatives.

What do you need to know?

Recent case law re-emphasises that all businesses must comply with anti-money laundering and anti-bribery requirements. Formal processes must be in place to prevent financial crimes, or organisations run the risk of having legal actions brought against them under UK anti-bribery law if someone ‘associated’ with the organisation makes a bribe with the intention of obtaining, retaining, or improving business or business relations for that organisation.

This is of particular importance following the introduction of a new corporate offence for the failure to ‘prevent bribery’. It is important to recognise that this doesn’t only apply to employees, or directors of an organisation. A person is ‘associated’ with an organisation if they provide services on the organisations’ behalf and so can encompass third-party contractors and service providers. Under the legislation, the business doesn’t even have to know about the associated person’s behaviour to be found guilty of bribery. It is therefore important for organisations to be able to demonstrate that they have “adequate procedures” in place to prevent bribery at all times.

This recent decision comes after a small business failed to show that it had anti-bribery policies and procedures in place which were sufficient for them to utilise the defence of “adequate procedures” in the action. The procedures fell short of the mark in that, though the business was run in an open plan environment and transparency was encouraged, there were no actual anti-bribery policies in place. Further, there was insufficient staff training, no one to report concerns to, and inadequate record keeping when reports were made.

Next steps

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP advise that all co-operatives, whether small or large, must ensure they have an anti-bribery policy in place which is monitored and enforced, a designated person to whom reports of concerns can be made, proper record keeping, and adequate staff training.

Written by Anthony Collins Solicitors

We have worked with our lawyers Anthony Collins Solicitors to produce this blog to keep our members up to date with the latest legal developments to affect co-operatives. If you have any questions about this content, please contact the Advice Team at [email protected]


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Written by Anthony Collins Solicitors
Updated: 03/07/2019