From 1 July 2011, when the Bribery Act 2010 becomes operative, it will be a criminal offence for a firm to fail to prevent bribery by persons who provide services on its behalf. There is a presumption that this will include all employees. It may also include a range of third parties with whom the firm has no direct contractual relationship. This has been described as a strict liability offence but theBribery Act provides one statutory defence - that an organisation can show it had adequate procedures” in place to prevent such bribery from occurring. On 30 March 2011, the Government published guidance on the meaningof “adequate procedures” (the “Guidance”).

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