Anti-bribery and corruption—gifts and hospitality
Anti-bribery and corruption—gifts and hospitality

The following Practice Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Anti-bribery and corruption—gifts and hospitality
  • Offences
  • Government guidance
  • Proportionality—setting a limit
  • Gift and hospitality policies and procedures
  • Reporting concerns
  • Compliance with your policy

Almost every business and everyone involved in the carrying on of a trade engages in some form of hospitality with existing or potential business partners.

Gifts and hospitality encompass a range of activity from providing pens marked with company logos, to charter flights to foreign countries or expansive (and expensive) meals and entertainment.

The problem is that the Bribery Act 2010 (BA 2010) itself does not provide any direct exemptions or assistance on what is acceptable and what isn't. Knowing what you can and can't properly do can therefore be difficult.

This Practice Note sets out the potential offences you can commit if you get it wrong, summarises Government guidance and covers issues of policy and procedures.

Offences

The potential offences that can be committed in the provision of gifts and/or hospitality are:

  1. bribing another person (BA 2010, s 1)

  2. bribing a foreign public official (BA 2010, s 6)

  3. as a corporate body, failing to prevent bribery (BA 2010, s 7)

In the first instance, as with any allegation of bribery, there must be an element of improper performance. Without that, an offence cannot be made out.

It will be important for the corporate body to be able to show that, even if an act of bribery occurred, it had adequate procedures designed to prevent its associates from undertaking that conduct. This highlights the importance of