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Monday, 14 February 2011

Guidance required

The UK government has delayed bringing in the Bribery Act 2010 on April 1 this year until it can offer businesses more guidance on the subject. This hasn’t gone down too well with anybody, except the businesses.

It is impossible to over-emphasise how many businesses are unprepared for the new Bribery Act. We could try, but suffice to say that a recent survey found that almost two-thirds of UK insurance firms, for example, are not prepared for it.

I was talking to an old friend just the other day (well, it may not have been quite the other day – just after we voted to go into the Common Market, it was) who reminded me of the occasion when, as a marine insurance broker, he was offered a consignment of East European shoes as an inducement to transact a piece of business. He said no, because he was all right for shoes at the time, but this sort of thing goes on every day of the week in insurance.

Of course one man’s bribe is another woman’s kindness. Expensive lunches can be construed as bribes if they are a means by which to gain an unfair business advantage. But how do we define unfairness?

Following the recent furore about the Pakistan cricket betting scandal, somebody suggested that we will have to think of an alternative expression to ‘It’s not cricket’ to describe something which is unfair. The answer is obvious – just leave out the word ‘not’.



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