The British High Commission and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), in conjunction with Transparency International (TI), ran three two-hour seminars in Sydney and Melbourne over the past month.
The UK’s landmark 2010 Bribery Act set a benchmark for anti-bribery law and London barrister Gerard Forlin, QC, led a speakers’ panel including representatives from Baker & McKenzie, Ashurst, Deloitte and KordaMentha which outlined how the Act impacted on companies operating in Australia.
Why tackling bribery is important?
- Foreign bribery is a business risk that needs to be actively managed, like fraud or embezzlement. Corruption adds up to 10 per cent to the total cost of doing business globally, and up to 25 per cent to the cost of procurement contracts in developing countries.
- Moving business from a country with low corruption levels to a country with medium or high corruption levels is found to add costs equivalent to a 20 per cent tax on foreign business.
- Our surveys reveal roughly a fifth of executives report that they been asked to pay a bribe, with a similar proportion reporting that they had lost business to a competitor who paid bribes.
What the UK is doing about it?
- The UK has been one of the key movers in international anti-corruption efforts. We’ve set the international benchmark for anti-bribery law, the 2010 Bribery Act, now being matched by other jurisdictions around the world.
- We’ve also taken a leading role in negotiations to establish and monitor a UN anti-corruption convention, and establishing international standards for transparency in sectors ranging from oil and gas to construction and medicines.
- A clear zero tolerance approach to bribery will enhance the reputation of British business in many countries with both private and public sector partners.
- More generally, tackling bribery and corruption will help level the playing field for all businesses which do the right thing, creating fair competition between all businesses and more efficient investment and production decisions which help raise GDP and living standards.
Further tools and information are available online provided by the British government, the European Union and other agencies:
The UK Ministry of Justice Quick-Start Guide to the UK Bribery Act 2010. Downloadable PDF.
The Business Anti-Corruption PortalBusiness Anti-Corruption Portal, which is of particular use to SMEs, provides summaries of international studies and knowledge about particularly exposed markets, sectors and regions.
The UK Anti-Corruption Forum is a private sector-led organisation, focusing on practical help for businesses threatened by corruption.
UK Trade & Investment and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office operate the Overseas Business Risk (OBR) service, which provides up-to-date information on security risks, including bribery, in over 80 markets.
The British Standards Institution has developed British Standard BS10-500 for organisations develop internal anti-bribery management systems. BSI has a local Australian presence.