Governments are putting more emphasis on combating the bribery of foreign public officials than ever before, reflected in recently proposed legislation changes. The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2017 proposes, amongst other things, to introduce a new corporate offence of ‘failing to prevent bribery of a foreign public official’.
This proposed offence relates to the actions of a corporation’s associates, and posits that companies should be held responsible for foreign bribery offences conducted by these parties.
Austrade provides a number of guidelines as to what constitutes ‘adequate procedures’, defining the term ‘associate’ and outlining important considerations relating to key areas including communication and training.
‘Adequate procedures’ – communication and training
In addition to a number of other key guidelines, such as reporting and recognising inherent risks according to jurisdiction, the guidance specifically relating to communication and training includes:
- A ‘culture of compliance’ and genuine engagement with anti-bribery obligations – corporations need to demonstrate that not only have relevant anti-bribery policies and procedures been created, but that they have been sufficiently implemented, communicated (internally and externally) and ‘embraced’ by key stakeholders, and are subject to ongoing monitoring.
- Quality of policies and training – anti-bribery policies and training need to be of a sufficient quality and clarity, as well as being tailored to the organisation, and regularly reinforced.
- Dedicating a role to focus on compliance with anti-bribery obligations – a person or team should be put in charge of anti-bribery compliance, even in small organisations.
Additional information is provided to help organisations develop effective communication and training policies.
Effective internal and external communication conveys clear managerial commitment to the company’s anti-bribery policies, and makes employees aware of their application on a daily basis.
These policies should be communicated through a range of channels including the company’s website, intranet, staff training and education materials, as well as internal policy documents and communications.
Austrade recommends that internal communications cover a broad range of topics, including:
- Decision making
- Financial control
- Hospitality and promotional expenditure
- Facilitation payments
- Training and education
- Charitable and political donations
- Penalties for breach of rules
- Management roles with responsibility for anti-bribery functions
A risk assessment should be carried out, considering factors such as in which jurisdictions the organisation and its associates operate, and the associated level of risk of bribery in those locations.
Training programs should then be developed specific to the organisation and its identified risks, and should be provided to employees, directors and managers, as well as associates such as agents, contractors and suppliers, depending on risk.
Some key considerations in establishing an effective training program include:
- Training should cover general and sector-specific bribery risks, as well as the company’s anti-bribery policies and procedures
- Companies should consider providing tailored training to employees who face particular corruption risk, e.g. roles in contracting or overseas-based roles that interact with foreign public officials
- Relevant case studies may prove highly useful
- Training should be incorporated into the induction process
- Training should be an ongoing process, with delivery and materials being periodically reviewed to ensure relevance