Anti bribery and corruption compliance (sometimes called ABC compliance) is important to your organisation because non-compliance brings significant risks. It is also important because bribery and corruption disempower people and destroys economic growth and opportunity. To prevent such harm and contribute positively to the growth of society, you must have an ongoing anti-bribery and corruption compliance procedures in place. If you do not have one, you must put one in place. If you do already have one, there is nothing wrong with improving it.
Anti-Bribery and Corruption Laws and standards
This is a list of some of the laws or standards that you might have to comply with. These are some of the main ones from around the world.
- OECD’s Code on Anti-Bribery & Corruption
- ISO 37001 standard for Anti-Bribery and Corruption compliance
- The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PCCA)
- The UK Bribery Act
- The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and
- many others.
What is an Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy?
An Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy (sometimes also called an ABC Policy) sets out an organisation’s stance on all forms of corruption. An organisation uses it to send a powerful message to its employees, other organisations, including its suppliers, and possibly regulatory authorities as well. Amongst other things, the policy sets out:
- What bribery means, and the different forms of it,
- What other forms of corruption there are,
- The various anti-bribery and corruption laws that an organisation is subject to,
- The consequences of failing to comply with those laws and with the policy, including the possibility of the organisation dismissing an employee responsible for the failure, and
- What the organisation’s plan is for raising awareness within the organisation is, including the forms of training that it will provide to its staff.
Some Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policies also deal with an organisation’s approach to whistleblowing. We have done the same in our Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy. Other organisations deal with whistleblowing in a separate policy – a Whistleblowing Policy. Ultimately, though, what is really important is not necessarily whether an organisation has one policy or two separate ones. Each organisation should just ensure that they carefully approach how they deal with these policies and not simply copy and paste from other’s policies. They must appreciate the risks non-compliance versus the benefits of compliance.
Actions you can take
- Record your policy on this critical issue in writing by asking us to draft an effective Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy for you.
- Improve your existing Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy by asking us to review it for you.
- Find out the ten ingredients for effective compliance by downloading a free copy of our Anti-Bribery and Corruption Compliance Guide below.
- Manage your relationships with your supply chain by asking us to review or draft contractual clauses requiring Anti-Bribery and Corruption Compliance for you.
- Raise awareness about your organisation’s anti-bribery and corruption practices by asking to provide you with a template email to send to your staff or your supply chain.
- Educate your staff on anti-bribery and corruption compliance by asking us to provide training and to advise you on the best practices you need to have in place in your organisation.
- Facilitate effective and responsible whistleblowing within your organisation and eliminate corruption by asking us to provide you with a Whistleblowing Policy.
- Manage the risk of potential acts of non-compliance and any actual event of non-compliance by asking us to draft you an Incident Response Policy.
- Subscribe to our Newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in anti-bribery and corruption laws, rules, codes and standards, including any change to them.
Get a free ABC Compliance Guide
Our free guide:
- is written in plain language and easy to understand,
- covers the key considerations for organisations to take into account in their Anti-Bribery and Corruption Compliance Programmes, and
- is in PDF format.
Simply fill in the form below and we’ll email you your copy of the free guide.
What are the Penalties for Non-Compliance?
The legal penalties that regulators (such as the United States Securities Exchange Commission) can impose on corrupt persons are quite severe and could include:
- Sentences up to a maximum of life imprisonment,
- Civil enforcement actions,
- Having to return any property or money, for example, that the persons have obtained through corruption, and
- Inclusion on the Register for Tender Defaulters and being prevented from entering into lucrative public sector contracts.
The other serious implications include:
- Fines and possibly imprisonment,
- Reputational damage,
- Having to defend against lawsuits for breach of anti-bribery and corruption contractual clauses, and
- Losing customers (and employees) and being unable to attract new ones.
But your main motivation for complying with anti-bribery and corruption laws should be to protect people and our society from the serious harm that corrupt activities cause.