The Government has confirmed that the Bribery Act 2010, set to come into force this April, will be reviewed.
The Ministry of Justice will reassess the Act as part of the Growth Review, which will look at the how the Government can create the best conditions for private sector growth.
Several new offences will be introduced under the Act, including a corporate offence for failing to prevent bribery by people working on behalf of a business, and a rise in the maximum penalty for individuals found guilty of bribery from seven to 10 years’ imprisonment, with an unlimited fine.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The Growth Review is ensuring that every government department is doing everything it can to identify the obstacles for investment and help the country’s economy to grow.
“The Government is clear that corruption should not be considered an acceptable way to win business and the UK stands alongside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, all of whom have criminalised foreign bribery.”
The spokesman added that the Ministry of Justice will be publishing guidance to help commercial organisations put practical measures in place to prevent bribery.
The Government was criticised by anti-corruption campaigners for delaying the introduction of the Act, which was originally planned to come into force towards then end of last year.
However, Kevin Robinson, a specialist in fraud and corporate crime at Irwin Mitchell, has argued that major amendments to the Act are unlikely at this stage.
“As the legislation is already on the statute books, any alteration would require further legislation – meaning there is simply no way that can happen quickly.
“In addition, the Bribery Act is part of a worldwide move to eradicate corruption and the Government wants the UK to be recognised as a world leader. While it was enacted by the previous Government, it had total cross party support and it is doubtful the coalition Government would go back on its support.”
XpertHR resources on the Bribery Act 2010