Bribery and what it means for business

Bribery and corruption are viewed increasingly not only as impediments to fair trade but as serious threats to economic development. 

The US Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act, which has been in place since the 1970s, has been instrumental in raising awareness among businesses of the social and commercial importance of fair competition, and its provisions have often been rigorously enforced. This has been followed on a more international scale by international conventions led by the OECD and the UN, in both cases setting the tone for how national governments should treat this issue. More recently, the UK’s Bribery Act 2010 has trod new ground by introducing a new criminal offence which can be committed by businesses where they fail to prevent individual acts of bribery by their employees, agents and intermediaries, thus making the issue of bribery more important than ever as an  internal risk management concern. In fact, according to PwC, over half of CEOs surveyed in 2013 said that corruption had become their major concern (that compares to 40% in 2012 and 30% in 2011); 27% said that they had had a real problem with corruption in the past 12 months.  

It follows that businesses are now having to take bribery risk seriously and to take positive steps to make sure that they do not fall victim. Efforts are under way to develop standardised systems, including a British Standard and an International Standard, with the aims of equipping businesses to put in place internal control systems which minimise bribery risk. 

In this video, John Burbidge-King, the CEO of the consultancy Interchange, discusses with John Davies, ACCA’s head of technical, how dedicated risk management systems can help businesses to protect themselves against bribery risk.