Bribery Policy

Anti-corruption (Bribery Act) Policies and Procedures

Overview

Pemberton Greenish LLP expects its staff, consultants, locums and other associated parties to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour, including in relation to anti-corruption and offences under the Bribery Act. The Partners operate a zero tolerance policy towards bribery.

This policy forms part of the firm’s terms of employment and engagement and any breach of this policy will be treated as gross misconduct and subject to disciplinary procedures in force from time to time.

You are required to report bribery (or attempted bribery) where it is seen (or suspected) to the CEO immediately. Anyone who reports or raises a concern in good faith under this policy will be supported even if they turn out to be mistaken.

What is Bribery?

The Bribery Act came into force on 1 July 2011 and sets out a number of separately defined criminal offences, summarised as follows:

Bribing

A person is guilty of bribing if:

  • he offers, promises or gives a financial or other advantage to another person which is intended to bring about the improper performance of a relevant function or activity, to reward a person for the improper performance of such a function or activity; or if
  • he promises or gives a financial or other advantage to another person, knowing or believing that the acceptance of the advantage would itself constitute the improper performance of a relevant function or activity.

Requesting or accepting a bribe

  • he requests or accepts a bribe.

Acting improperly because of a bribe

  • he acts improperly as a result of a bribe being offered to him or anyone else.

Bribing a foreign public official

  • he directly or indirectly offers, promises or gives any financial or other advantage to a foreign public official which is intended to obtain or retain business or an advantage in the conduct of business.

Essentially, a bribe is an inducement or reward offered, promised or provided in order to gain an advantage through someone (not necessarily the recipient) acting improperly. Offences under the Act are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Needless to say, a guilty verdict would have other negative consequences, including obvious reputational damage.

The form of a “bribe” could be widely drawn and include, not only financial payments, but also gifts, benefits or services in kind.

However, reasonable, proportionate, bone fide hospitality, promotional activity or business expenditure is unlikely to be caught by the Bribery Act, particularly where it is transparent and does not suggest an expectation that a person will not act in good faith because of this activity (see below for gifts, hospitality and promotional activity).

Risk assessment

The key areas of risk relevant to Pemberton Greenish LLP’s areas of activity have been identified as:

  • Interaction with intermediaries, agents, introducers or referrers, particularly in the property or financial services sectors;
  • Interaction with suppliers of services to Pemberton Greenish LLP;
  • Interaction with public officials;
  • Interaction with clients and contacts from overseas, especially if they originate from a country/culture/industry where bribery activity is more prevalent.

These are not exhaustive and some industry sectors are more prone or exposed to corruption and bribery than others.

Due diligence

It is important that you always know who you are dealing with, whether clients, intermediaries or employees/locums and that you know the source or destination of any payments. Additional due diligence may be required for higher risk people or organisations (particularly if overseas). This applies to existing as well as any new persons you are dealing with.

Corporate hospitality and gifts

A sense of proportion should be employed. Is it reasonable and justifiable? Is it appropriate in terms of type, timing and value (e.g. a small Christmas gift)? What was the intention that lay behind it?

Please refer to the separate policy statement attached.

Promotional activity, including sponsorship and charitable donations by Pemberton Greenish LLP

All such activity should be aimed at improving the image of the firm, presenting the firm’s services or establishing cordial relations. It should be put to the marketing committee for prior approval or, where this is not possible, the CEO.

Referral fees

These are unlikely to be caught by the Bribery Act as long as they comply in full with the firm’s professional code.

Dealings with clients and third parties

These must be at arm’s length and on commercial terms and documented correctly. All accounts, receipts and invoices must be made available to the accounts department. No accounts may be “off-book”.

Training

We will provide training on this policy as part of the induction process for all new employees. Employees will also receive regular, relevant training on how to adhere to this policy, and will be asked annual to formally accept that they will comply with this policy.

Review

This policy statement shall be kept under review and updated from time to time in light of developments in the law and current practice and shall be made available to all members of staff.

Appendix

Corporate hospitality and gifts:

The Guidance Notes to the Bribery Act say:

Bona fide hospitality and promotional or other business expenditure which seeks to improve the image of a commercial organisation, better present products and services, or establish cordial relations, is recognised as 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. It is, however, clear that hospitality and promotional or other similar business expenditure can be employed as bribes.

Corporate hospitality such as taking clients to dinner, drinks, sporting or other events (lasting no longer than a day), is permitted, so long as it does not suggest an expectation that a person will not act in good faith.

The following procedures apply:

1. All corporate hospitality must be transparent and bone fide. It must be clearly recorded in personal diaries and included on the internally published marketing diary, so that colleagues and senior management can monitor activity. Any costs incurred when entertaining clients must be accounted for in full to cashiers with the relevant documentation (for example, a copy of bill/invoice and/or a credit card receipt).

2. All corporate hospitality should be reasonable, bone fide and proportionate. Individual activity/events which is expected to/or ultimately amounts to expenditure per capita in excess of the following thresholds, or lasts for more than one day (a weekend for example), must be notified in advance to the CEO who maintains a register of higher value activity for monitoring purposes:

a. Partners, senior consultants, CEO – £500 per capita
b. Other fee earners – £300 per capita
c. Non fee earners (excluding the CEO) – £200 per capita

3. These reporting obligations extend to other activity with clients or business intermediaries, for example holidays together, or personal services in kind.

Gifts, for example cases of wine, which are often personal and less transparent, should not be offered to or received from clients unless the value is proportionate (up to L75) and/or appropriate (such as prizes at quiz nights). Any gifts received whose value exceeds this amount must be declared to the CEO who maintains a register for monitoring purposes. The firm’s policy will generally require you politely to refuse any gifts materially in excess of this amount.

Corporate hospitality and gifts to foreign public officials are prohibited in all circumstances.