The Bribery Act, the single biggest change in UK legislation for decades, has rightly forced companies to reassess their conduct, but officials have urged businesses not to over-react when it comes to giving at Christmas this year.
Earlier this week it was revealed that great lengths have been taken at the Royal Mail to ensure workers do not put the body at risk of legal action under the Bribery Act, such as workers not being able to accept gifts of a value more than £30. But experts believe this demonstrates a lack of understanding that exists in many leading UK businesses about what the Bribery Act was introduced to achieve.
According to one industry expert, many firms will be carefully considering the issue of how they can “accept gifts from clients and other parties in a manner which prevents them from falling foul of the law” this year. However, receiving a gift greater than a specific value “does not mean you will be accused of bribery”.
“The determining factor is not the amount of money but what was in the mind of the giver and receiver when it was offered,” added the expert. “If it was for the purpose of rewarding or inducing impropriety then there will be bribery no matter how much money changes hands.”
Merry Christmas after all.