Bribery Act Guidance Helpsheet


The release on Wednesday 30 March of Government guidance for the Bribery Act marked the

start of a three month count down to the Act coming into force on 1st July 2011.

From that date it will be an offence for companies to fail to prevent bribery. The penalties for

bribery are high, an unlimited fine and the possibility of exclusion from all public contracts

across Europe for organisations and up to 10 years in prison for individuals, as well as striking

off for Directors. The SFO has said that it will “enforce the Act vigorously” and that

enforcement of the Act will be a “high priority” for prosecutors.

The Bribery Act was given Royal Assent in April 2010, but enforcement was delayed to allow

a public consultation and preparation of government guidance.

A number of specific issues had been causing businesses concern and there had been

suggestions the Government might water down some of the provisions. Kenneth Clark, the

Secretary of State for Justice, has confirmed that the provisions of the Act will not be altered

and all the guidance is intended to do is assist organisations, particularly smaller

organisations, in interpreting and responding to the Act. However, the guidance does provide

some additional clarification, which may affect how it is implemented in practice, making it

essential reading for all organisations doing business in the UK. This help sheet is intended to be a useful summary of key points covered by the guidance.

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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.

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