PWC give their take on Christmas gifts and the Bribery Act

I got involved in a Twitter debate yesterday on Xmas gifts and what they say about the procurement department. My analysis is that a weak procurement function with no power won't get many; a function that has some power but is immature may well get gifts; once the function is mature (and powerful) then it shouldn't again, because it should have policies that don't allow gifts.

Unless it is fundamentally corrupt of course, which can happen independent of its size or indeed power.

Now PwC have put out their interpretation in  the light of the Bribery Act that comes into force next April. Edwin Harland, director in PwC’s forensic services practice, said:

“Christmas is the peak season for client entertaining and gift giving but companies would be wise to ensure their policies in this area are adequate and are properly enforced. Employees need to be made aware exactly what the rules are in this area. Suppliers should also be made aware that excessive gifts and hospitality are often not wished for and can be counter-productive.”

It's  a useful piece and worth reading but it still falls into the "bottle of wine" trap, saying that you better be careful about "alchohol above a bottle of wine".  Which suggests a bottle is acceptable.  So I'm OK with that Magnum of Lafite 1990 then?  Good heavens, I had no idea it was currently worth about £1,500, your honour...

Alcohol is a 'no' for me.  I'm OK with calendars, diaries, stuff with your logo plastered all over it; and perhaps, if you insist, a box of nice biscuits we can share around the office.. but I'd rather you just didn't bother, to be honest*...  You can buy me a reasonable lunch occasionally if we're talking business; but next time I'll pay.

And the Bribery Act is going to make life interesting, independent of our personal views and judgement.  Happy Christmas!

*What to do with gifts that arrive through the post?  Donate to charity, or raffle it and donate the proceeds to charity; or send it back.  And tell the supplier what you've done, and that you would appreciate them not sending anything next year.

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