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Anti-Bribery Policy

1. Introduction


1.1 The Bribery Act 2010 became law on 01 July 2011 and was enacted to enable robust action to be taken against such activity. South Ribble Borough Council is committed to protecting the public purse and the services it provides from being abused. The Council has a zero-tolerance approach towards bribery and promotes the prevention, deterrence and detection of bribery.

2. Policy Statement


2.1 Bribery is a criminal offence. South Ribble Borough Council will neither, pay bribes nor offer improper inducements to anyone for any purpose, nor accept bribes or improper inducements.

2.2 To use a third party as a conduit to channel bribes to others is a criminal offence. The Council does not, and will not, engage indirectly in or otherwise encourage bribery.

2.3 South Ribble Borough Council is committed to the prevention, deterrence and detection of bribery and has a zero-tolerance towards bribery. Anti-bribery compliance is to be embedded in every aspect of the Council's operations.

3. Objective of this Policy


3.1 This policy provides a coherent and consistent framework to enable the Borough Council's employees and Members to understand what is required and expected of them. In conjunction with related policies and key documents it will also enable employees and members to identify and effectively report a potential breach.

3.2 We require that all employees (including those permanently employed, temporary agency staff and contractors) and Members:

  • Uphold the Council's Values at all times and safeguard the Council's resources for which they are responsible
  • Comply with the spirit, as well as the letter, of the laws and regulations of all jurisdictions in which the Council operates, in respect of the lawful and responsible conduct of activities.

4. Scope of this policy


4.1 This policy applies to all of the Council's activities. For partners, joint ventures and suppliers, the Council will seek to promote the adoption of policies consistent with the principles set out in this policy.

4.2 Within the Council, the responsibility to control the risk of bribery occurring resides at all levels of the organisation. It does not rest solely within assurance functions, but in all business units and corporate functions.

4.3 This policy covers all personnel, including all levels and grades, those permanently employed, temporary agency staff, contractors, non executives, agents, all Members, volunteers and consultants.

4.4 As well as the possibility of civil and criminal prosecution, employees breaching this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal in cases of gross misconduct.

5. South Ribble Council's Commitment to action


5.1 This Council commits to:

  • Setting out a clear anti-bribery policy and keeping it up to date;
  • Making all employees and Members aware of their responsibilities to adhere strictly to this policy at all times;
  • Training all employees and Members so that they can recognise and avoid the use of bribery by themselves and others;
  • Encouraging all employees and Members to be vigilant and to report any suspicions of bribery, providing them with suitable channels of communication and ensuring sensitive information is treated appropriately;
  • Rigorously investigating instances of alleged bribery and assisting police and other appropriate authorities in any resultant prosecution;
  • Taking firm and vigorous action against any individual(s) involved in bribery;
  • Providing information to all employees and Members to report breaches and suspected breaches of this policy;
  • Including appropriate clauses in contacts to prevent bribery.

6. The Bribery Act


6.1 Bribery is an inducement or reward offered, promised or provided to gain personal, commercial, regulatory or contractual advantage. There are four key offences under the Act:

  • Give a bribe (section 1)
  • Accepting a bribe (section 2)
  • Bribing a foreign official (section 6)
  • Failing to prevent bribery (section 7)

6.2 The Bribery Act 2010 makes it an offence to offer, promise or give a bribe (Section1). It also makes it an offence to request, agree to receive, or accept a bribe (Section2).

6.3 Section 6 of the Act creates a separate offence of bribing a foreign public official with the intention of obtaining or retaining business or an advantage in the conduct of business.

6.4 There is also a corporate offence under Section 7 of failure by a commercial organisation to prevent bribery that is intended to obtain or retain business, or an advantage in the conduct of business, for the organisation. An organisation will have a defence to this corporate offence if it can show that it had in place adequate procedures designed to prevent bribery by or of persons associated with the organisation.

6.5 For the purposes of the Act, relevant commercial organisations are not limited to private sector businesses, but potentially include 4 organisations which engage in commercial activity, even if they are performing a public function.

7. Penalties


7.1 An individual guilty of an offence under sections 1, 2 or 6 is liable:

  • On conviction in a magistrates court, to imprisonment for a maximum term of 12 months (six months in Northern Ireland), or to a fine not exceeding £5,000, or to both;
  • On conviction in a crown court, to imprisonment for a maximum term of ten years, or to an unlimited fine, or both.

7.2 Organisations are liable for these fines and if guilty of an offence under section 7 are liable to an unlimited fine.

8. Is the Council a "commercial organisation"?


8.1 The guidance states that a "commercial organisation" is any body formed in the United Kingdom and "...it does not matter if it pursues primarily charitable or educational aims or purely public functions. It will be caught if it engages in commercial activities, irrespective of the purpose for which profits are made." There are circumstances in which we may be a commercial organisation for the purposes of section 7. This policy is intended to ensure that we have in place the necessary procedures to act as a defence to a section 7 offence.

8.2 Governing Principles The Council's procedures cover six principles:-

Proportionality

The Council has procedures in place to prevent bribery by persons associated with it. These are proportionate to the bribery risks faced by the Council and to the nature, scale and complexity of the Council's activities. They are also clear, practical, accessible, effectively implemented and enforced.

Top level commitment

Cabinet, Governance Committee and the Senior Management Team are committed to preventing bribery by anyone associated with the Council. They foster a culture within the organisation in which bribery is never 5 acceptable. The role of Governance committee is to challenge and strengthen our anti-bribery arrangements.

Risk Assessment

The nature and extent of the Council's exposure to potential external and internal risks of bribery on its behalf by persons associated with it is periodically assessed. This includes financial risks but also other risks such as reputational damage.

Due Diligence

The Council takes a proportionate and risk based approach, in respect of persons who perform or will perform services for or on behalf of the organisation, in order to mitigate identified bribery risks. Before entering into any business relationship or project, the Council will carry out due diligence on its potential business partners, agents used and on the proposed project or business transaction in order to identify, as far as reasonably possible, the risk of bribery. Wherever possible, the Council will use procurement and contract management procedures which minimise the opportunity for bribery, by subcontractors and suppliers, against the Council. The Council will take steps to ensure that its partners, suppliers, contractors, agents and other third parties with whom it does business, have in place a code of conduct which explicitly prohibits the making of corrupt payments.

Communication (including training)

The Council seeks to ensure that its bribery prevention policies and procedures are embedded and understood throughout the Council through internal and external communication, including training that is proportionate to the risks it faces.

Monitoring and review

Procedures designed to prevent bribery are monitored and reviewed and improvements are made where necessary. This policy will be reviewed 6 annually. Significant revisions will be presented to Senior Management Team before being referred to Governance Committee for approval, prior to being issued to employees and members. This Council is committed to proportional implementation of these principles.

9. Bribery is not tolerated by South Ribble Council


9.1 It is unacceptable 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 government 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;
  • Retaliate against or threaten a person who has refused to commit a bribery offence or who has raised concerns under this policy;
  • Engage in activity in breach of this policy.

10. Facilitation payments


10.1 Facilitation payments are not tolerated and are illegal. Facilitation payments are unofficial payments made to public officials in order to secure or expedite actions.

11. Gifts and hospitality


11.1 In terms of employees the Council's policy regarding the requirements for recording gifts and hospitality is set out within the Code of Conduct for Employees of the Council - in terms of Members the Council's policy is set out in the Code of Conduct for Elected Members.

11.2 For employees to register the offer / acceptance of a gift / hospitality, they should go to I Want To, Officer Declarations, on Connect. Members should contact Democratic services to make the necessary declaration.

12. Public contracts and failure to prevent bribery


12.1 Under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (which gives effect to EU law in the UK), a company is automatically and perpetually debarred from competing for public contracts where it is convicted of a corruption offence. However, Organisations that are convicted of failing to prevent bribery are not automatically barred from participating in tenders for public contracts. The Council has the discretion to exclude organisations convicted of this offence.

13. Responsibilities


13.1 The prevention, detection and reporting of bribery and other forms of corruption are the responsibility of all those working for the Council or under its control. All employees and Members are required to avoid activity that breaches this policy.

13.2 You must:

  • ensure that you read, understand and comply with this policy;
  • raise concerns as soon as possible if you believe or suspect that a conflict with this policy has occurred, or may occur in the future.

13.3 As well as the possibility of civil and criminal prosecution, employees that breach this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct.

14. Raising a concern


14.1 The Council is committed to ensuring that all employees and Members have a safe, reliable, and confidential way of reporting any suspicious activity. Each and every employee or Member can raise concerns.

14.2 All employees and Members have a responsibility to help detect, prevent and report instances of bribery. Anyone who has a concern regarding a suspected instance of bribery or corruption should report it.

14.3 There are various channels through which concerns can be raised. Please refer to the Whistleblowing Policy or the Anti-Fraud and Corruption Policy.

14.4 Concerns can be anonymous. In the event that an incident of bribery, corruption, or wrongdoing is reported, action will be taken as soon as possible to evaluate the situation. The Council has clearly defined procedures for investigating fraud, misconduct and non-compliance issues and these will be followed in any investigation of this kind. This is easier and quicker if concerns raised are not done anonymously.

14.5 Employees and Members who refuse to accept or offer a bribe, or those who raise concerns or report wrongdoing can understandably be worried about the repercussions. The Council will support anyone who raises a genuine concern in good faith under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken.

14.6 The Council is committed to ensuring nobody suffers detrimental treatment through refusing to take part in bribery or corruption, or because of reporting a concern in good faith. 14.7 If you have any questions about these procedures, please contact Chris Moister (chris.moister@southribble.gov.uk).

15. Other relevant policies


 

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