It is our policy to conduct all of our business in an honest and ethical manner. We take a zero- tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships and to implementing and enforcing effective systems to counter bribery.
The purpose of this policy is to:
- set out our responsibilities, and of those working for us, in observing and upholding our policy of conducting business in an honest and ethical manner; and
- provide information and guidance to those working for us on how to recognize and deal with bribery and corruption issues.
Bribery and corruption are punishable by up to ten years' imprisonment for individuals and if we are found to have taken part in corruption we could face an unlimited fine, be excluded from tendering for public contracts, and face damage to our reputation. Accordingly, we take our legal responsibilities very seriously.
In this policy, third party means any individual or organization you come into contact with during the course of your work for us, and includes actual and potential clients, customers, suppliers, distributors, business contacts, agents, advisers, and government and public bodies, including their advisors, representatives and officials, politicians and political parties.
WHO IS COVERED BY THE POLICY?
This policy applies to all individuals working at all levels and grades, including Directors, Associate Directors, outside Consultants and Employees. (collectively referred to as workers in this policy).
WHAT IS BRIBERY?
A bribe is an inducement or reward offered, promised or provided in order to gain any commercial, contractual, regulatory or personal advantage.
GIFTS AND HOSPITALITY
This policy does not prohibit normal and appropriate hospitality (given and received) to or from third parties, unless the hospitality is given or received with the intention of influencing business decisions.
The giving or receipt of gifts is not prohibited, if the following requirements are met:
- it is not made with the intention of influencing a third party to obtain or retain business or a business advantage, or to reward the provision or retention of business or a business advantage, or in explicit or implicit exchange for favors or benefits;
- it is given in our name, not in your name;
- it does not include cash or a cash equivalent (such as gift certificates or vouchers);
- it is appropriate in the circumstances. For example, in the UK it is customary for small gifts to be given at Christmas time;
- taking into account the reason for the gift, it is of an appropriate type and value and given at an appropriate time;
- it is given openly, not secretly; and
- gifts should not be offered to, or accepted from, public officials or representatives, or politicians or political parties, without the prior approval of a director.
WHAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE?
It is not acceptable for you (or someone on your behalf) to:
- give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality with the expectation or hope that a business advantage will be received, or to reward a business advantage already given;
- give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality to a public official, agent or representative to "facilitate" or expedite a routine procedure;
- accept payment from a third party that you know or suspect is offered with the expectation that it will obtain a business advantage for them;
- accept a gift or hospitality from a third party if you know or suspect that it is offered or provided with an expectation that a business advantage will be provided by us in return;
- threaten or retaliate against another worker who has refused to commit a bribery offense or who has raised concerns under this policy; or
- engage in any activity that might lead to a breach of this policy.
FACILITATION PAYMENTS AND KICKBACKS
We do not make, and will not accept, facilitation payments or "kickbacks" of any kind. Facilitation payments are typically small, unofficial payments made to secure or expedite a routine public action by a public official. They are not commonly paid in the UK.
If you are asked to make a payment on our behalf, you should always be mindful of what the payment is for and whether the amount requested is proportionate to the goods or services provided. You should always ask for a receipt that details the reason for the payment. If you have any suspicions, concerns or queries regarding a payment, you should raise these with a director.
Kickbacks are typically payments made in return for a business favor or advantage. All workers must avoid any activity that might lead to, or suggest, that a facilitation payment or kickback will be made or accepted by us.
We do not make contributions to political parties. We only make charitable donations that are legal and ethical. No donation must be offered or made without the prior approval of a Director.
You must ensure that you read, understand and comply with this policy.
The prevention, detection and reporting of bribery and other forms of corruption are the responsibility of all those working for us or under our control. All workers are required to avoid any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of this policy.
You must notify a Director as soon as possible if you believe or suspect that a conflict with this policy has occurred, or may occur in the future. For example, if a client or potential client offers you something to gain a business advantage with us, or indicates to you that a gift or payment is required to secure their business. Further "red flags" that may indicate bribery or corruption are set out in the Schedule.
Any worker who breaches this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct or, in the case of a consultant immediate termination for any contract of services.
We are committed to keeping financial records and having appropriate internal controls in place which will evidence the business reason for making payments to third parties.
You must declare and keep a written record of all hospitality or gifts accepted or offered, which will be subject to a Director’s review.
You must ensure all expenses, claims relating to hospitality, gifts or expenses incurred to third parties are submitted in accordance with our expenses policy and specifically record the reason for the expenditure.
All accounts, invoices, memoranda and other documents and records relating to dealings with third parties, such as clients, suppliers and business contacts, should be prepared and maintained with strict accuracy and completeness. No records must be kept "off-book" to facilitate or conceal improper payments.
HOW TO RAISE A CONCERN
You are encouraged to raise concerns about any issue or suspicion of malpractice at the earliest possible stage. If you are unsure whether a particular act constitutes bribery or corruption, or if you have any other queries, these should be raised with a Director.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF BRIBERY OR CORRUPTION
It is important that you tell a Director as soon as possible if you are offered a bribe by a third party, are asked to make one, suspect that this may happen in the future, or believe that you are a victim of another form of unlawful activity.
Workers who refuse to accept or offer a bribe, or those who raise concerns or report another's wrongdoing, are sometimes worried about possible repercussions. We aim to encourage openness and will support anyone who raises genuine concerns in good faith under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken.
We are committed to ensuring no one suffers any detrimental treatment as a result of refusing to take part in bribery or corruption, or because of reporting in good faith their suspicion that actual or potential bribery or any other corruption offense has taken place, or may take place in the future. Detrimental treatment includes dismissal, disciplinary action, threats or other unfavorable treatment connected with raising a concern. If you believe that you have suffered any such treatment, you should inform a Director immediately.
TRAINING AND COMMUNICATION
Training on this policy forms part of the induction process for all new workers. All existing workers will receive regular, relevant training on how to implement and adhere to this policy.
Our zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption must be communicated to all suppliers, contractors and business partners at the outset of our business relationship with them and as appropriate thereafter.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE POLICY?
The Board of Directors has overall responsibility for ensuring this policy complies with our legal and ethical obligations, and that all those under our control comply with it.
The firm’s Finance Director has primary and day-to-day responsibility for implementing this policy and for monitoring its use and effectiveness and dealing with any queries on its interpretation. The Board is responsible for ensuring those reporting to them are made aware of, and understand this policy and are given adequate and regular training on it.
MONITORING AND REVIEW
The firm’s Finance Director will regularly monitor the effectiveness and review the implementation of this policy, considering its suitability, adequacy and effectiveness. Any improvements identified will be made as soon as possible. Internal control systems and procedures will be subject to regular audits to provide assurance that they are effective in countering bribery and corruption.
All workers are responsible for the success of this policy and should ensure they use it to disclose any suspected danger or wrongdoing.
Workers are invited to comment on this policy and suggest ways in which it might be improved. Comments, suggestions and queries should be addressed to the firm’s Finance Director.
This policy does not form part of any worker’s contract of employment or contract for services and it may be amended at any time.