SMEs unfamiliar with Bribery Act

Almost three quarters of small businesses do not understand what the impending Bribery Act is or how it is likely to affect the way they do business, research finds.


Almost three quarters of small businesses do not understand what the impending Bribery Act is or how it is likely to affect the way they do business, research finds.

Almost three quarters of small businesses do not understand what the impending Bribery Act is or how it is likely to affect the way they do business, research finds.
 
According to a study by business software provider Sage UK of 1,050 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), while a third of businesses (33 per cent) know the July 1st Act is coming into force, most are uncertain how they should adapt to it, with 50 per cent indicating that they will simply operate as usual.
 
One of the main concerns consistently highlighted by larger businesses about the Act has been that it will make UK firms less competitive on the international stage.

For the majority of SMEs, however, this does not seem to be an issue, with 94 per cent believing that it will not make their business less competitive internationally.
 
The UK Bribery Act has been described as ‘the toughest anti-corruption legislation in the world’. The penalties for committing a crime under the Act are a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment, along with an unlimited fine for individuals successfully prosecuted under the Act. 

Organisations can receive an unlimited fine and there is also the potential for the confiscation of property.
 
Samantha Bell, Sage HR Adviser, says that if a business could be susceptible to potential acts of bribery, the owner should carry out a risk assessment and put strict policies and procedures in place to eliminate any doubt.

‘But if it’s very unlikely that bribery could happen in your company, then drawing up and communicating one simple policy to your employees could be enough,’ she adds.
 
‘The key thing is to be in a position where you can show you have taken adequate steps to prevent acts of bribery from taking place. If a bribery claim is made against you, doing this can make a real difference to your defence.’
 

Related Topics

Bribery Act

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