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Implementation of Bribery Act to be delayed until mid-Summer

Implementation of Bribery Act to be delayed until mid-Summer

Accountants for contractors might want to tell their clients that Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, has confirmed that the government intends to review the new Bribery Act legislation and will therefore be delaying its implementation.

Originally the Act was due to be implemented in April, but this delay in publishing the official compliance guidance means the target date is now mid-Summer.

The head of the OECD’s anti-corruption efforts, Professor Mark Pieth, was not pleased with the decision saying it hurts the competitiveness of industry in the UK if companies are still allowed to secure contracts through bribery.

The CBI, on the other hand, has backed the Ministry’s decision as it will give companies more time to prepare for implementation. It warned that in its current form, the legislation was unworkable. The CBI’s director of employment policy, Katja Hall, said the Confederation backed the principle of a comprehensive, strong anti-bribery law but the delay is essential if the government is to protect the competitiveness of the UK. The delay will ensure that the guidance is correct and the legislation workable.

The ACCA also believes the delay will be good news for businesses. The head of ACCA UK, Andrew Leck, said that businesses must understand how the Act will affect them and have time to prepare. Of particular concern to the ACCA, is the impact the new legislation will have on SMEs. The Association is calling on the government to make sure the guidelines are relevant to the small business sector as SMEs are the ones in most need of clarity and support.

In related news, construction companies have complained that British embassies do not help them when they are faced with bribery demands overseas. The Serious Fraud Office advises companies to report overseas bribes in order to be in compliance with the Bribery Act.

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Image: Yuk5 by stallio

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