This is the first posting in an occasional blog, commenting on developments and initiatives in the HR and Anti-Bribery fields.
Bribery and Corruption is a particularly hot topic at the moment, with the imminent arrival of the UK Bribery Act which comes into force on 1st July 2011. British Companies have always tended to take the attitude that, in order to do business in some markets, they have to adhere to local practices and pay bribes to acquire contracts. Petty bribes (so-called “Facilitation Payments”) have also been paid regularly to junior officials, to expedite routine procedures. Now – according to the new legislation – all this must stop.
So far, so admirable; but what does it mean in reality? Many Companies are hastily reviewing (or in a lot of cases, creating…) their Anti-Bribery policies, or frantically contacting consultants (you can contact me here, by the way!) to assist in this process. The Government’s long term objective is to compel UK Companies to help in the Global fight against bribery, so do not expect a brief flurry from the authorities, followed by a relapse into torpor – you will need to comply with this legislation properly, and failure to do so will risk you receiving unwelcome attention from the authorities, should anybody connected with you be caught in flagrante.
In the mean time, things are stirring in India, a country where – allegedly – even the simplest task performed by a public servant requires lubrication. The Indian Government has ratified the UN Anti-Corruption Convention and is coming under increasing pressure to sign up to the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention. It’s also interesting to note that “Whistleblowing” sites, such as ipaidabribe.com are getting numerous reports from disgruntled Indian citizens, who are fed up with the endemic corruption that blights their country. Another victory for the World-Wide Web?