Last week HRreview reported that the Ministry of Justice confirmed the Bribery Act, due to come into force last October was being postponed until April.
David O’Hanlon, Associate for leading law firm Thomas Eggar LLP, comments: “The delay in issuing the guidance demonstrates the likely difficulty the government is facing in producing clear guidance that will bear close scrutiny given the potentially wide-ranging impact of the Act. The tension between the government’s stated aims of preventing corruption whilst not penalising modern business practices such as legitimate corporate hospitality creates a significant ‘grey area’ which the guidance is presumably seeking to clarify.
“This delay may prove helpful to a number of companies who are not yet aware of the potential implications of the Bribery Act and the ramifications for their business. A recent survey of Thomas Eggar clients and contacts revealed that 83 per cent of respondents were aware that the Bribery Act is coming into force but 85 per cent of respondents had either no knowledge or only partial knowledge of the contents of the Act and what constituted an offence.
“With the Act creating corporate liability and potential personal liability for a company’s directors and officers, businesses would be well advised to use this hiatus to review the Act and consider the implications and risks to their operations if they have not already done so.”