New First Principle of Adequate Procedures: Proportionality

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One of the more noticeable changes in the UK Bribery Act Guidance released last month and the Consultative Guidance, released last September, is found in the Six Principles of an Adequate Procedures compliance program. The Consultative Guidance listed Risk Assessment as Principle 1. However, in the recent final Guidance, Risk Assessment has moved to Principle 3 and the new Principle 1 is Proportionate Procedures, which is defined as follows:

A commercial organisation’s procedures to prevent bribery by persons associated with it are proportionate to the bribery risks it faces and to the nature, scale and complexity of the commercial organisation’s activities. They are also clear, practical, accessible, effectively implemented and enforced.

Adequate bribery prevention procedures ought to be proportionate to the bribery risks that a company faces and a company still must assess these risks so an initial assessment of risk across the company is, therefore, a necessary first step. However, proportionality is overlaid above and across all the remaining Principles so if a company has a low risk profile, it may not need as robust an anti-bribery compliance program as a company with a higher risk profile.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Thomas Fox, Compliance Evangelist | Attorney Advertising

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