Government responds on Bribery Act report

The Government has published its response to the Committee report on the effectiveness of the Bribery Act. Among other things, the report had looked at the deterrent effect of the Bribery Act and its effects on SMEs.  The Committee had made 35 recommendations, all of which the Government has now responded on.  Its key observations on the actual operation of the Act are:

  • that it is not the role of the MoJ or the Government more generally to provide any more detailed guidance either on adequate procedures or on any other aspect of the law than they have already done.  The Government sees a role for industry associations that are closer to the businesses they represent, in doing this;
  • the Government has no intention at all of legalising facilitation payments;
  • the Government is carefully considering the responses to a separate consultation on whether to broaden the “failure to prevent” offence to all economic crime;
  • there is no point discussing now what the subtle difference between the Bribery Act “adequate” and CFA “reasonable” procedures may be, as no one has experienced any difficulty in practice with the use of different words;
  • agreeing with the recommendation that the SFO’s recent stance of not giving advice is the right one;
  • agreeing to consider a centralised bribery reporting mechanism;
  • the SFO will soon be publishing guidance on what information is considers as genuine co-operation and self-reporting, that it will take into account when considering whether to offer a DPA; and
  • there will be greater integration between DIT guidance and the Bribery Act.

Emma Radmore