Bribery undermines democracy and the rule of law and poses very serious threats to sustained economic progress in developing and emerging economies and to the proper operation of free markets more generally. The UK Bribery Act 2010 is intended to respond to these threats and to address a broad range of ways that bribery can be committed. It does this by providing robust offences, enhanced sentencing powers for the courts (raising the maximum sentence for bribery committed by an individual from 7 to 10 years imprisonment) and wide jurisdictional powers.
The Act extends to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom.) In relation to corruption and more specifically bribery, the Act has major sections that cover the offences and deliver rectifications:
1.Section 1 & 2: Cover general bribery offences
2.Section 6: Covers bribery of foreign public officials
3.Section 7: Failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery
4.Section 9: Covers the guidance notes on how a commercial organisation can prevent bribery
5.Section 10 & 11: Outline the prosecution and penalties
The Act creates a new offence within Section 7 that organisations have to sit up and consider when doing business within and with the UK. An offence is committed by commercial organisations which fail to prevent persons associated with them from committing bribery on their behalf. It is a full DEFENCE for an organisation to prove that, in spite of a case of bribery, they had adequate procedures and controls in place to prevent the person associated with it from bribery.
With reference to the offence above, the Act has also set out guidance notes within Section 9, in the form of six (6) guiding principles for organisations to follow to prevent the offence as stated in section 7 from occurring.