The Bribery Act

Since the introduction of the Bribery Act in 2010, what changes have taken place in your organisation? Has your internal audit function been the conscience of business ethics of potentially complicit in corruption?

This emotive statement is intentional. There is no plausible argument for inaction regarding this topic. As a chief audit executive (CAE) would you accept excuses of ‘resource issues’, ‘didn’t think it was material’ or ‘not my responsibility’ from the business? No, and nor should it be accepted of internal audit when it comes to the inclusion of anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) on the audit plan.

Not guilty!

Had the statement been on social media there would no doubt be legions of defensive CAEs proclaiming with angry faces about readiness audits, programme reviews, risk assessments and compliance checks. Perhaps so, but there would also be those hoping the audit committee chair hadn’t seen the post, those who had considered ABC irrelevant for the organisation, where other priorities saw it fall into an assurance gap or it was a one-off audit that’s never been repeated.

2017 saw senior executives imprisoned, corporates fined, continued investigations and headlines that included some big corporate names. Cases can be read on the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) website.  Notwithstanding confidence in current activities, it is always beneficial to revisit the legislation and consider the risks afresh.

Legislative requirements

In 2011 the UK made an unequivocal stance in its commitment to the 1997 OECD anti-bribery convention. Internationally, the Bribery Act is exemplified as being amongst the toughest legislation to have been introduced making individuals and companies liable for offences that occur domestically and overseas.

The institute has previously produced a legislative overview and detailed guidance (IIA Global also produced guidance) which this paper does not intend to repeat aside from the following concise summary:

  • Act…
"No man who is corrupt, no man who condones corruption in others, can possibly do his duty by the community."

- Theodore Roosevelt