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News

Advice on preventing bribary in healthcare from the BSI

British Standards Institution (BSI) : 14 January, 2014  (Company News)
The BSI's risk management specialist, Suzanne Fribbins, comments on the Sinopharm corruption allegations and provides advice on the prevention of bribery
Advice on preventing bribary in healthcare from the BSI


The action and probe into corruption allegations at Sinopharm is a wake-up call for organizations to the importance of having clear policies and adequate procedures in place to prevent corrupt practices, to help ensure that workers are not being bribed and prohibit bribery with all the people you are doing business with. China is ranked 80th out of 175 countries in an index of perceived levels of public sector corruption in around the world. Although, today’s events, and those in preceding months, show that the Chinese authorities are taking this seriously.



Recent trends have shown that corporate governance will be high on the agenda in 2014 and as part of this it’s imperative that top management support and communicate the importance of anti-bribery policy throughout the organization.



Anti-bribery breaches have the power to undermine organizations at their very core. Sadly, the actions of individuals across all professional levels of a business can severely weaken the reputation of a company and expose it to regulatory risk. Robust businesses must defend themselves against these challenges by preventing incidents of white collar crime and adopting frameworks to assist with this, such as BS 10500. Businesses that fail to mitigate their exposure to these risks are threatening their integrity, their reputations and ultimately their bottom line as can be seen in the case of Sinopharm, whose share price dropped 2% overnight on the allegation of bribery.



In the UK, businesses across the spectrum, from FTSE 100 firms to SMEs, need to have an anti-bribery management system, such as BS 10500, in place. Put simply, it’s a series of policies, procedures and controls that a company must put into effect to mitigate the risk of bribery and ensure its compliance with the law.  It ensures that you have a system in place, such that if there is a failure and bribery does take place either against or on behalf of the company then the system will ensure the company acts to investigate and deal with that bribery and puts in place preventative measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again.



BSI's Anti-Bribery top tips



* Make sure you have clear policies and procedures to communicate to employees, suppliers and customers that bribery will not be tolerated.

* Make sure you set the tone from the top. Ensure top management support and communicate the importance of the anti-bribery policy throughout the organization.

* Make sure appropriate training is provided to ensure that employees understand what constitutes bribery and what to do if they encounter it.

* Ensure you carry out a risk assessment in order to understand the bribery risks you face and that you put in place adequate measures.  Ensure that it is regularly reviewed to take account of changing business circumstances.

* Ensure you carry out due diligence on all business associates, paying more attention to those that pose a more significant risk.

* Ensure that you make it a condition of employment that employees comply with your anti-bribery policy and procedures

* Have clear policies around the offer and acceptance of gifts and corporate hospitality.

* Implement financial controls to segregate responsibilities so as to reduce the risk of employees paying or receiving a bribe on behalf of your organization.

* Ensure all allegations of bribery and reported and dealt with. While many organizations have a policy in place, unless you enforce it, it is useless.

* Carry out internal audits to make sure your policies and procedures are being adhered to and use the results to continually improve your management system.


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