ISMM encourages compliance training relating to the new Bribery Act

Top Quote On 1st July 2011 the UK Bribery Act comes into effect - creating a new raft of criminal offences. Under the new act, corporate failure to prevent bribery on the part of any employee - including third party agents - will be punishable by significant fines and, potentially, jail sentences for directors and others. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) June 21, 2011 - Welcoming this Act, which replaces a mixture of antiquated legislation that has made it difficult to bring successful prosecutions, The Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) - which is the UK's association for sales professionals - is anxious to clarify the implications of the Act and dispel any 'folk myths' that surround it.

    Stephen Wright, the ISMM's Commercial Director, explained: "Contrary to some people's views, genuine business hospitality, or similar business expenditure, is neither against the letter nor the spirit of the Act. Businesses can continue to provide tickets to sporting events, take clients to dinner, offer gifts to clients as a reflection of good relations, or pay for reasonable travel expenses in order to demonstrate their goods or services to clients - but only if that is reasonable and proportionate for the business.

    "Facilitation payments - that is, small payments to officials to secure the performance of routine administrative tasks - continue to be illegal under UK law. However, the Serious Fraud Office recognises that some of these payments are difficult to avoid and has indicated that isolated incidents are unlikely to result in prosecution if they are reported by the individual - and the organisation as a whole can demonstrate that it's taking a proactive approach to eradicate such payments.

    "We are urging all Institute members - including those who feel that their business activities may have even a tangential relationship with this Act - to undertake compliance training as part of their continuing professional development (CPD) activities," he continued. "If members of our Institute want some relevant courses and training providers, we can provide them with this information, on request."

    The Bribery Act creates four new offences:
    Offering or giving a bribe
    Requesting or accepting a bribe
    Bribing a foreign public official
    Failure by an organisation to prevent bribery

    The Act covers all UK individuals and companies, whether their activities take place at home or abroad. Criminal penalties include unlimited fines and up to ten years imprisonment for individuals.

    Companies found guilty may also be prevented from bidding on future public tenders. Bribery in both the public and private sector is covered by the Act and an offence may be committed regardless of whether the bribery is 'direct' or carried out via an agent or other intermediary.

    The only way that an organisation can avoid prosecution is if it can show that it had 'adequate procedures' in place to prevent bribery. The Government has set out six guiding principles on the procedures that should be put in place:
    Create procedures that are proportionate to the size and nature of the business
    Ensure a clear commitment from the top of the organisation
    Assess the risks that you might face
    Know exactly who you are dealing with
    Communicate your policies and procedures to staff and business partners
    Make sure your procedures keep pace with changes

    "We believe that it's important for anyone in the public and private sectors to understand this new legislation," Wright said. "Government guidance states that, 'like all procedures, training should be proportionate to risk but some training is likely to be effective in firmly establishing an anti-bribery culture whatever the level of risk.'

    "There are some simple measures that organisations can take to ensure that they comply with the new law - and we would encourage them to do so," he added. "And, as a professional institute, we remain fully committed to give advice and guidance to our members as they operate within the law's demands."

    About The Institute of Sales & Marketing Management
    The Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM) is the UK's association for sales professionals. Founded in 1911 to promote standards of excellence in sales and sales management and to enhance the status and profile of sales as a profession, the ISMM supports, represents and promotes the sales profession. It has been the authoritative voice of selling and the custodian of sales standards, ethics and best practice for many years.

    The ISMM is also responsible for establishing benchmarks of professionalism in sales. It is the only membership body recognised by the UK Government regulatory body Ofqual as an awarding organisation to offer qualifications in sales, marketing and sales management.

    The ISMM's annual British Excellence in Sales & Marketing Awards (BESMA) are the most prestigious awards for the sales profession.

    Further information from:
    Ben Turner, ISMM, +44 (0)1582 840001; bturner ( @ ) ismm dot co dot uk
    Denise Edens, ISMM, +44 (0)1582 840001; dedens ( @ ) ismm dot co dot uk

    Bob Little, Bob Little Press & PR, +44 (0)1727 860405; bob.little ( @ ) boblittlepr dot com

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