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Bribery Act

Bribery Act| pdf(128 kb)

Bribery Act Quiz| pdf(90.4 kb)


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University Policy|

1. Introduction|

2. Offences|

3. Jurisdictional Reach|

4. Hospitality, promotional and other business expenditure|

5. Facilitation Payments|

6. Penalties|

7. Defence|

8. Risk Areas|

9. Actions|



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University Policy

The University is committed to ensuring adherence to the highest legal and ethical standards. This is reflected in every aspect of the way in which the University operates, with integrity to all our dealings. The University acknowledges that bribery and corruption harms the societies in which these acts are committed and prevents economic growth and development.

The Executive Board attaches the utmost importance to this policy and will apply a “zero-tolerance” approach to acts of bribery and corruption by any of its members of staff or by those working on our behalf. Any breach of this policy will be regarded as a serious matter by the University and is likely to result in disciplinary action and/or legal action.

The University should avoid conducting any business with others who do not evidence a similar bribery and corruption policy to our own.

This Policy should be read in conjunction with the main body of the Financial Regulations, and the other policies in place at the University, namely the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblowing) Policy, the Gifts and Hospitality Policy and the Anti-Fraud Policy).


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1. Introduction

The Bribery Act 2010 (the “Act”) was introduced to update preceding laws (contained in a combination of statutes dating back to the 19th Century and common law) and these will be abolished when the Act is brought into force on 1st July 2011.

The Act is intended to make it significantly easier for enforcement agencies to bring successful prosecutions in respect of corruption offences committed at home in the UK, and abroad.

The University and those persons working on behalf of the University have to comply with the Act.

Very generally bribery is defined as giving someone a financial advantage or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly or to reward that person for having already done so. So this could cover seeking to influence a decision-maker by giving some kind of extra benefit to that decision-maker rather than by what can legitimately be offered as part of a tender process.


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2. Offences

The Act creates four key offences:

  • Active bribery - the offence of offering to bribe another. This offence can be committed directly or through a third party;
  • Passive bribery - the offence of accepting or requesting a bribe;
  • Bribery of a foreign public official – a person is guilty of this offence if his intention is to influence the official in the official’s capacity as a foreign public official (i.e. government officials and those working for international organisations); and
  • Failing to prevent bribery - the offence by a commercial organisation of failure to prevent bribery by any person associated with it.

It is important to note that the Act focuses on conduct and not results, and as such there is no need for the transaction to have been completed.


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3. Jurisdictional Reach

The Act has a wide territorial scope.

Acts of bribery committed by anyone in the UK or, if overseas, by a British citizen or any other person with a close connection with the UK can be prosecuted. This also includes those senior officers at the University who consent or connivance to any such offence.

The Act also covers the actions of the University for failing to prevent bribery, and this too can be committed in the UK or overseas, and has a much broader application in that those people only need to be associated with it, and as such it also includes the actions of agents and subcontractors acting on our behalf.


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4. Hospitality, promotional and other business expenditure

Bona fide and modest hospitality is an accepted courtesy of a business relationship. However, the recipient should not allow him/herself to reach a position where he/she might be influenced, or might be deemed by others to have been influenced, in making a business decision as a consequence of accepting such hospitality. The frequency and scale of hospitality should not be significantly greater than what the University would likely to provide in return.

The Government guidance in this area is that “Bona fide hospitality and promotional, or other business expenditure which seeks to improve the image of (the University), better to present products and services, or establish cordial relations, is recognised as a an established and important part of doing business and it is not the intention of the Act to criminalise such behaviour. The Government does not intend for the Act to prohibit reasonable and proportionate hospitality and promotional or other similar business expenditure intended for these purposes.”


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5. Facilitation Payments

The Act provides in clear terms that it is a crime to bribe a public official. This includes “facilitation payments” – money or goods given to a public official to perform, or speed up the performance of an existing duty.

Facilitation payments were illegal before the Act came into force and they are illegal under the Act, regardless of their size or frequency.

An exemption however does exist where there is real and immediate threat to life, limb or liberty.


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6. Penalties

The maximum sentence for individuals is up to ten (10) years imprisonment, whilst commercial organisations face an unlimited fine.


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7. Defence

The only defence available is for the University to prove that adequate procedures were in place to prevent bribery from being committed by those performing services on its behalf.


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8. Risk Areas

The University in conjunction with its auditors have identified the key risk areas as follows:



-Commercial Contracts

-International Agents


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9. Actions

The university has introduced a number of procedures to help comply with the Act that include, but are not limited to:

(i)            Top level commitment by senior officers;

(ii)          Risk Assessments conducted by the Bribery Act Focus Group (“BAFG”);

(iii)         The introduction of due diligence checklists and updated pro forma’s;

(iv)         Training for staff; and

(v)          Updated contracts.

The University will continue to monitor and review its processes to provide the highest level of protection for both the University and its staff, through the BAFG acting under the overall responsibility of the Chief Operating Officer and the Audit Committee.


If any member of staff has any queries in relation to the Bribery Act 2010, they must direct their enquiries to Legal Services.

Furthermore, should any member of staff have any suspicions that a breach of the Act has / or is about to take place, they must contact Legal Services or use the University’s Public Interest (Whistleblowing) Policy.

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