The Bribery Act – implications for Procurement

The Bribery Act comes into force across Europe shortly, and as you may well know it is going to have a serious effect on how procurement people conduct business. It will become vitally important not merely to avoid bribery (obviously) but also to show that you are taking all reasonable steps to avoid accusations or any appearance of bribery or corruption in procurement activities.

And on that note, the Alliance for Procurement Regulation and International Legislation have just issued their guidelines, aimed at helping professional avoiding the pitfalls of the new legislation, which in extreme cases, can lead to 5 years in prison (or 6 months in Luxembourg).

Here are the Alliance's main recommendations for procurement executives.

1.      When eating with suppliers, it is sensible to take your own food and drink rather than be accused of receiving comestibles funded by suppliers. The Alliance point out that even if you say you are paying your own bill, that is hard to prove if you are interrupted by the European Bribery Police halfway through your "scallops in a ginger sauce with spinach puree.” Far safer to be seen to be gnawing on a stale crust, provided yourself, while the supplier's staff tuck in.

2.      Being personally identifiable through a tendering process may prove a magnet for bribery, the Alliance think. So they recommend procurement execs assume a non-de-plume during competitive processes. BravoSolution have already built this capability into their platforms and offer a drop-down menu with a range of aliases so that bidders are asked to return tenders to (for example); 'se*yhotgirl 367', 'makem1973' or 'normantebbitrulesOK'.

3.      The Alliance recommend that, when meeting suppliers, procurement staff should choose clothing without pockets. “It is much harder to slip a brown envelope containing 500 Euro notes into a pocket if the recipient avoids that particular garmental feature”, they say, with some accuracy. They go on to recommend a one-piece latex jump suit for all meetings with suppliers, which does in truth sound a little extreme - and perhaps unwise from both a health and aesthetic perspective -  for certain members of the profession.

4.      Finally, the Alliance offer a solution to the perennial issue of supplier Christmas gifts. They suggest that major organisations should seal their procurement function into an air-tight bunker for the month of December, with security controlled access.

“While we don't underestimate the ability of some suppliers in industries such as ******, **** and ****** to deliver a case of fine Scotch even into a hermetically sealed bunker 1000 feet below the earth's crust, we do believe this will at least minimize more casual bribery”.

So, all in all, an interesting if somewhat worrying report from A.P.R.I.L.

But none of us want to get the wrong side of the Bribery Act, so make sure you're not one of the potential victims...

**** redacted in the interests of libel...

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Voices (3)

  1. Final Furlong:

    Apologies for the rather brief note. I’m writing this on my new i-pad (2!) given to me by our new IT supplier for my birthday, but the wireless on this island, owned by my friend Richard (who also owns an airline I might add) isn’t that great. We’re in the middle of nowhere! I’m here helping him write his response to our airline tender and he said that instead of doing it in London, why didn’t I come and join him on his island. How cool is that! (I say cool but it’s absolutely roasting here!) Well, his team did help us write our Travel Policy, so I do feel that I should reciprocate. So, anyway, here’s my question. In relation to the bribery act and all that, will I have to send my back a gold pen that was given to me recently? The thing is, it’s got my name engraved upon it and so it’s going to be useless to anyone else.

    1. Wendy Wills:

      I love April 1st! What about the carribean holiday that i offered to my local NHS Buyer?!

  2. Russ Armitage:

    You words on this subject are as wise as ever!
    Fortunately I am already carrying out all the measures you suggest, except the one about the Christmas bunker, which I must say also has other advantages.
    I must go and change my CIPS callender to the correct date, it’s still showing 31st March, so must be slow.

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