Anti-Corruption & Bribery Policy

1.1 Policy Statement

The Company is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in its business activities in the UK and overseas.

Bribery is a criminal offence. We do not, and will not, pay bribes or offer improper inducements to anyone for any purpose, nor do we or will we, accept bribes or improper inducements.

To use a third party as a conduit to channel bribes to others is a criminal offence. We do not, and will not, engage indirectly in or otherwise encourage bribery.

We are committed to the prevention, deterrence and detection of bribery. We have zero-tolerance towards bribery. We aim to maintain anti-bribery compliance “business as usual”, rather than as a one-off exercise.

1.2 Bribery

Bribery is offering, promising, giving or accepting any financial or other advantage, to induce the recipient or any other person to act improperly in the performance of their functions, or to reward them for acting improperly, or where the recipient would act improperly by accepting the advantage.

It is unacceptable to:

  • Give, promise to give, or offer a payment, gift or hospitality with the expectation or hope that a business advantage will be received, or to reward a business advantage already given;
  • Give or accept a gift or hospitality during any commercial negotiations or tender process, if this could be perceived as intended or likely to influence the outcome;
  • Accept payment from a third party that you know or suspect is offered with the expectation, that it will obtain a business advantage for them;
  • Accept a gift or hospitality from a third party if you know or suspect that it is offered or provided with an expectation that a business advantage will be provided by us in return;
  • Accept hospitality from a third party that is unduly lavish or extravagant under the circumstances;
  • Offer or accept a gift to or from government officials or representatives, or politicians or political parties;
  • Retaliate against or threaten a person who has refused to commit a bribery offence or who has raised concerns under this policy;
  • Engage in activity in breach of this policy.

1.2.1 The Offences

The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1st July 2011.

There are three “General Offences” which can be committed by individuals or organisations:

  • 'Active Bribery': Offering, promising or giving a bribe (a section 1 offence);
  • 'Passive Bribery': Requesting, accepting or receiving a bribe (a section 2 offence); and
  • Bribing a foreign public official (a section 6 offence).

There is also a fourth "Corporate Offence" which can only be committed by commercial organisations. The corporate offence will be committed where a business fails to prevent bribery on its behalf and for its benefit (a section 7 offence).

An organisation that can prove it has "Adequate Procedures" in place to prevent persons associated with it from bribing will have a defence to the section 7 offence.

1.2.2 Penalties/Consequences

First 3 offences (individuals and corporates):

  • Up to 10 years imprisonment and/or unlimited fine, confiscation of proceedings of any bribe Note: if corporate found guilty, senior officers (directors / managers) can also be convicted if they have given “consent and connivance” (i.e. cannot ‘turn a blind eye’).

Corporate offence:

  • Unlimited fine, confiscation of proceeds of any bribe.

Other potential consequences:

  • Directors: disqualification for up to 15 years.
  • Permanent exclusion from government contracts across EU.
  • Reputational damage.

1.2.3 Adequate Procedures

The Company will consider the following six principles when putting procedures in place to prevent bribery:

  • Principle 1 – Proportionate Procedures
  • Principle 2 – Top Level Commitment
  • Principle 3 – Risk Assessment
  • Principle 4 – Due Diligence
  • Principle 5 – Communication (including training)
  • Principle 6 – Monitoring and Review

1.3 Objective of this policy

This policy provides a coherent and consistent framework to enable employees to understand and implement arrangements enabling compliance. In conjunction with related policies and key documents it will also enable employees to identify and effectively report a potential breach.

We require that all staff, including those permanently employed, temporary staff and contractors:

  • Act honestly and with integrity at all times and to safeguard the organisation’s resources for which they are responsible; and
  • Comply with the spirit, as well as the letter, of the laws and regulations of all jurisdictions in which the Company operates, in respect of the lawful and responsible conduct of activities.

1.4 Scope of this policy

This policy applies to all of the Company’s activities. For partners, joint ventures and suppliers, we will seek to promote the adoption of policies consistent with the principles set out in this policy.

Within the Company, the responsibility to control the risk of bribery occurring resides at all levels.

This policy covers all staff, including all levels and grades, those permanently employed, temporary staff, contractors, agents, volunteers and consultants.

1.5 The Company’s commitment to action

The Company commits to:

  • Setting out a clear anti-bribery policy and keeping it up to date.
  • Making all employees aware of their responsibilities to adhere strictly to this policy at all times;
  • Training all employees so that they can recognise and avoid the use of bribery by themselves and others. A risk assessment is available to guide employees;
  • Encouraging its employees to be vigilant and to report any suspicions of bribery, providing them with suitable channels of communication and ensuring sensitive information is treated appropriately;
  • Rigorously investigating instances of alleged bribery and assisting police and other appropriate authorities in any resultant prosecution;
  • Taking firm and vigorous action against any individual(s) involved in bribery;
  • Provide information to all employees to report breaches and suspected breaches of this policy;
  • Include appropriate clauses in contracts to prevent bribery.

1.6 Facilitation payments and Kickbacks

The Company does not make, and will not accept, facilitation payments or "kickbacks" of any kind.

Facilitation payments, also known as "back-handers" or "grease payments", are typically small, unofficial payments made to secure or expedite a routine or necessary action (for example by a government official). They are not common in the UK, but are common in some other jurisdictions.

Kickbacks are typically payments made in return for a business favour or advantage.

You must avoid any activity that might lead to a facilitation payment or kickback being made or accepted by us or on our behalf, or that might suggest that such a payment will be made or accepted. If you are asked to make a payment on our behalf, you should always be mindful of what the payment is for and whether the amount requested is proportionate to the goods or services provided. You should always ask for a receipt which details the reason for the payment. If you have any suspicions, concerns or queries regarding a payment, you should raise these with your manager.

1.7 Gifts and hospitality

Hospitality is not prohibited by the Act. The Government does not intend that genuine hospitality or similar business expenditure that is reasonable and proportionate be caught by the Act, so you can continue to provide bona fide hospitality, promotional or other business expenditure.

Only where a payment, gift or hospitality offer is extraordinary or lavish, or has the ability to influence or reward improper performance, will the payment be considered to have infringed the Act. Examples:

Low Risk High Risk
Taking business contacts out for dinner accompanied by you. Paying for dinner for business contacts unaccompanied by you.
Provision of transport to facilitate a meeting or on site visit. Provision of transport to facilitate non-business related activities such as holidays.
Tickets to social events accompanied by you. Tickets to social events unaccompanied by you.
Taking business contacts on a golf day with members of your organisation. Flying business contacts unaccompanied for a golf holiday.
Gifts such as corporate pens, diaries and calendars. Lavish gifts such as expensive watches or cars.

Please complete a gift/hospitality form where an offer or invitation of a gift or hospitality is received, or a gift is actually received and send this to HR for it to be logged and approved as appropriate. HR will maintain a log of all gifts and hospitality permitted or rejected.

You should refuse the offer or invitation (or return the gift) unless HR or an Executive Director has advised you that it may be accepted or retained.

A form should also be completed where you intend to provide payment, a gift or gifts or hospitality to others. Send this to HR for it to be logged and approved as appropriate. HR will maintain a log of all payments, gifts and hospitality permitted or rejected. You should not provide payment, a gift or gifts or hospitality unless approved.

Exceptions to the requirement to file a form and seek approval are detailed on the form.

1.8 Charitable Contributions

If charitable contributions are made at the request of a public official, or in return for favours or services, they can be seen as bribes.

A form should be completed where you intend to make a charitable contribution at the request of a public official. Send this to HR for it to be logged and approved as appropriate. HR will maintain a log of such charitable contributions.

1.9 Staff responsibilities

The prevention, detection and reporting of bribery and other forms of corruption are the responsibility of all those working for the Company or under its control. All staff are required to avoid activity that breaches this policy.

You must:

  • Ensure that you read, understand and comply with this policy; and
  • Raise concerns as soon as possible if you believe or suspect that a conflict with this policy has occurred, or may occur in the future.
  • In addition, if you are considered to be a ‘Supervised Person’, ensure that you read, understand and comply with the Compliance Handbook policy on this matter.

As well as the possibility of civil and criminal prosecution, staff that breach this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in summary dismissal for gross misconduct.

1.10 Raising a concern

This Company is committed to ensuring that all of us have a safe, reliable, and confidential way of reporting any suspicious activity. We want each and every member of staff to know how they can raise concerns.

We all have a responsibility to help detect, prevent and report instances of bribery. If you have a concern regarding a suspected instance of bribery or corruption, please speak up – your information and assistance will help. The sooner you act, the sooner it can be resolved.

There are multiple channels to help you raise concerns.

Preferably the disclosure will be made and resolved internally e.g. to your Manager, HR, an Associate Director, a Director, or an Executive Director. Secondly, where internal disclosure proves inappropriate, concerns can be raised with the External Auditor or relevant professional bodies or regulatory organisations. Raising concerns in these ways may be more likely to be considered reasonable than making disclosures publicly (e.g. to the media).

Concerns can be anonymous. In the event that an incident of bribery, corruption, or wrongdoing is reported, we will act as soon as possible to evaluate the situation. This is easier and quicker if concerns raised are not anonymous.

Staff who refuse to accept or offer a bribe, or those who raise concerns or report wrongdoing can understandably be worried about the repercussions. We aim to encourage openness and will support anyone who raises a genuine concern in good faith under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken.

We are committed to ensuring nobody suffers detrimental treatment through refusing to take part in bribery or corruption, or because of reporting a concern in good faith.

If you have any questions about these procedures, please contact HR.