St Albans, United Kingdom (PressExposure) June 28, 2011 -- The Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) - the UK's association for sales professionals - is continuing to emphasise the need for training and continuing professional development (CPD) activities relating to the UK Bribery Act, which comes into effect on 1st July.
Stephen Wright, the ISMM's Commercial Director, commented: "There is a great deal being said and written about this new Act - not least an article by Michael Sacks, a director of Eukleia Training, an organisation which helps companies design and deliver effective compliance training interventions. The article - entitled, 'Beware of backhanders' - was published in the May/June edition of the ISMM's magazine, 'Winning Edge'."
This article revealed that, under the new Act, corporate failure to prevent bribery on the part of any employee - including third party agents - will be punishable by significant fines and, potentially, jail sentences for directors and others.
It went on to explain that genuine business hospitality, or similar business expenditure, is permitted under the Act. Businesses can continue to provide tickets to sporting events, take clients to dinner, offer gifts to clients as a reflection of good relations, or pay for reasonable travel expenses in order to demonstrate their goods or services to clients - but only if that is reasonable and proportionate for the business.
The Bribery Act covers all UK individuals and organisations, in the private and public sectors, whether their activities take place at home or abroad, and creates four new offences: offering or giving a bribe; requesting or accepting a bribe; bribing a foreign public official, and failure by an organisation to prevent bribery. The only way that an organisation can avoid prosecution is if it can show that it had 'adequate procedures' in place to prevent bribery.
The article in Winning Edge added that, although the new Act confirms the illegality of payments to officials to secure the performance of routine administrative tasks, the Serious Fraud Office has indicated that isolated incidents are unlikely to result in prosecution if they are reported by the individual - and the organisation as a whole can demonstrate that it's taking a proactive approach to eradicate such payments.
The ISMM's Stephen Wright continued: "As a professional institute which seeks to set and maintain standards, we welcome the Act. It promises to clarify issues and make compliance with the law in this respect more straightforward - but there are still some 'folk myths' surrounding this Act.
"So it would be better for all concerned to discover the truth for themselves through formal training and/or CPD activities.
"We're urging all ISMM members - including those who feel that their business activities may have even a tangential relationship with this Act - to undertake compliance training as part of their continuing professional development (CPD) activities," he said. "If members of our Institute want some relevant courses and training providers, we can provide them with this information, on request.
"We believe that it's important for anyone in the public and private sectors to understand this new legislation," he added. "Government guidance states that, 'like all procedures, training should be proportionate to risk but some training is likely to be effective in establishing an anti-bribery culture whatever the level of risk.'
"There are some simple measures that organisations can take to ensure that they comply with the new law - and we would encourage them to do so. Moreover, as a professional institute, we remain fully committed to give advice and guidance to our members as they operate within the law's demands."