Transparency International (TI) has launched an Assurance
Framework for Corporate Anti-Bribery Programmes (the
"Framework"). The Framework is TI's latest
anti-corruption tool for companies to assist them in designing
robust anti-corruption programmes that are based on good practice
and, in doing so, build the trust of the full extent of their
The Framework is drafted in line with TI's Business
Principles for Countering Bribery and the World Economic
Forum's PACI Principles for Countering Bribery, two leading
anti-bribery codes. It also underwent a public consultation period
prior to its publication.
In a press release, Jermyn Brooks, TI board member and chair of
TI's Business Advisory Board, said: "Stakeholders are
seeking greater credibility for companies' anti-bribery
measures. The Assurance Framework will help businesses to
demonstrate that they have in place systems that are well designed
as well as assisting them to benchmark and improve their
In order to enhance the quality and credibility of its
anti-bribery commitments, a company may, voluntarily, use the
Framework as part of an assurance process carried out by an
external assurance practitioner. The assurance practitioner would
consider a set of 22 "control objectives" and supporting
control procedures, and form an overall opinion which he would
provide to the company's board/management in the form of a
Independent and standardised compliance measures have been the
subject of much discussion in recent months, as companies seek to
meet the expectations of their business partners, stakeholders and
enforcement agencies. In November 2011, the British Standards
Institution (BSI) launched a Standard (BS 105000) for an
anti-bribery management system (the "Standard") and
successful pilot studies have since been completed.
Compliance with the Standard will help companies demonstrate to
both internal and external stakeholders that appropriate procedures
are in place to prevent bribery. The Standard is currently a
national document but, given the international nature of many UK
businesses, it is likely to be developed into an international
management standard in due course.
Both initiatives, the Framework and the Standard, are in line
with Principle 6 of the MOJ guidance about procedures which
relevant commercial organisations can put into place to prevent
persons associated with them from bribing (the
"Guidance"). Principle 6 of the Guidance states that
"some organisations may be able to apply for certified
compliance with one of the independently-verified anti-bribery
standards maintained by industrial sector associations or
These developments highlight not only that independent assurance
is an effective way of demonstrating that robust anti-corruption
compliance procedures are in place but also that companies are
increasingly choosing to involve external consultants to review
their compliance programmes.
This trend towards assurance goes hand in hand with the demand
for anti-corruption programme certifications from stakeholders.
More and more, stakeholders are seeking greater transparency around
corporate anti-corruption activities to mitigate the risks of
financial and reputational damage caused by perceived or actual
However, certification can only go so far. As Principle 6 of the
Guidance points out "such certification may not necessarily
mean that a commercial organisation's bribery prevention
procedures are 'adequate' for all purposes where an offence
under section 7 of the Bribery Act could be charged."
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The ramifications for those found to be in civil contempt (as presided over by the High Court), and, in particular, the court’s power to enforce such a finding against a contemnor who resides overseas, are more far reaching than many (civil) lawyers realise.
The Bribery Act has made the news again following the conviction of a would be taxi driver. Earlier this week, at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, Mr Mawia Mushtaq became the second person convicted of an offence under the Bribery Act by attempting to bribe a Licensing Officer.
In the previous edition of Corporate Focus we reported that the Bribery Act 2010 (the Bribery Act) came into force on 1 July 2011 and we considered procedures that commercial organisations could put into place in order to prevent bribery.
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