Summary of SFO's bribery guidance and policies
Produced in partnership with Emily Agnoli of Simmons & Simmons
Summary of SFO's bribery guidance and policies

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Emily Agnoli of Simmons & Simmons provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Summary of SFO's bribery guidance and policies
  • SFO’s key policies on prosecuting bribery offences
  • The SFO’s Bribery Act guidance
  • SFO’s approach to self-reporting
  • What happens if a company has made a self-report in reliance on previously issued guidance?
  • SFO guidance on DPAs
  • Corporate co-operation guidance for organisations seeking a DPA
  • SFO policy on adequate procedures
  • SFO guidance on evaluating compliance programmes
  • The decision to prosecute
  • More...

Summary of SFO's bribery guidance and policies

SFO’s key policies on prosecuting bribery offences

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is the lead investigating and prosecuting body for corporate bribery offences in the UK. Alongside the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), it has the power to negotiate deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) with organisations, who will thereby avoid some of the consequences of an immediate prosecution to conviction. For more information, see Practice Note: Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs).

The SFO publishes various policies and internal guidance documents which guide investigators and prosecutors considering bribery offences. Organisations and those advising them should be aware of these policies as they can be instructive in revealing the SFO’s approach to certain matters. This includes the following key policies and guidance:

  1. the SFO’s Bribery Act 2010 (BA 2010) guidance on facilitation payments and business expenditure (Bribery Act guidance)

  2. the SFO’s guidance on corporate self-reporting

  3. the SFO’s operational handbook chapter called 'Corporate Co-operation Guidance'

  4. the SFO’s operational handbook chapter called ‘Evaluating a Compliance Programme’

Together these are referred to in this Practice Note as ‘the SFO policies’.

As set out in the SFO policies, all decisions by the SFO to prosecute unlawful activity are governed by:

  1. the Code for Crown Prosecutors, and

  2. the Joint Prosecution Guidance of The Director of the SFO and The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) (Joint Prosecution Guidance)

The SFO will also apply

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