The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
("OECD") Working Group on Bribery recently published its
Phase 3 report "Implementing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention
in the United Kingdom".
The report provides a comprehensive review of the current UK
response to its obligations regarding implement of the Anti-Bribery
Convention. It evaluates the effectiveness of the Bribery Act 2010
and the Government's published Guidance.
While the OECD does commend the UK on many points, including its
significant increase in foreign bribery actions, it sets out the
areas in which it finds the UK lacking. In summary the OECD main
There has been an increased use of civil recovery orders -
meaning that there is less judicial oversight and the civil
recovery process is much less transparent than criminal plea
The OECD found that, due to the low levels of information
regarding settlements being made publicly available by UK
authorities, there cannot be a proper assessment of whether the
sanctions imposed are "effective, proportionate and
The OECD found that UK Overseas Territories have been slow to
implement the convention and, as some are offshore financial
centres, this raises the risk that they are used to facilitate
The OECD noted that while the Bribery Act 2010 Guidance to
Commercial Organisations has increased awareness of foreign bribery
issues it requires further clarification around
"reasonable and proportionate hospitality" and
"promotional expenditures" especially in regard to
industry norms; and
The OECD is concerned that the Serious Fraud Office has entered
into confidentiality agreements with defendants that prevent the
disclosure of key information after bribery and corruption cases
are settled which reduces public awareness of these matters and
What is clear from the report is that the UK still has much work
to do to comply with the Convention, and that the Bribery Act is
not sufficient to comply. Businesses should note that the Guidance
may be reviewed in light of the report's recommendations and
compliance with the Bribery Act is an ongoing process.
The material contained in this article is of the nature of
general comment only and does not give advice on any particular
matter. Recipients should not act on the basis of the information
in this e-update without taking appropriate professional advice
upon their own particular circumstances.
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