The Bribery Act 2010 creates a new set of offences that should equip prosecutors and the courts with the tools they require to ensure that all forms of bribery, at home and abroad, are met with an effective criminal justice response. As I stated in my statement of the 15 June following my appointment as international anti-corruption champion, effective implementation of the Act, which demonstrates cross-party commitment to the fight against bribery, is a coalition priority.
Section 7 of the Act creates a new offence which can be committed by commercial organisations which fail to prevent bribery committed for their benefit. However, it is a defence for an organisation to prove it had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery being committed on its behalf. Section 9 establishes a duty on the Secretary of State to publish guidance about procedures which commercial organisations can put in place to prevent bribery. We believe it is important that the guidance to be issued takes account of the views of those with an interest in this area, including both business and non-governmental organisations. We also consider it vital that the timing of the publication of the guidance allows for an adequate period of familiarisation before the commencement of the Act.
We therefore propose to conduct a public consultation exercise on the form and content of guidance to be issued under section 9 of the Act beginning in late summer with a view to publishing guidance early in the new year in preparation for commencement of the Act in the spring of 2011.