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The Bribery Act also creates the general offences for individuals, both of offering a bribe and of receiving a bribe. ‘Bribe’ in this case is not just money but any advantage, usually (but not necessarily) financial.

As to offering the bribe or promising a financial advantage to another person, there are 2 cases:- (i) where the intention is to bring about an improper performance of “a relevant function or activity by another person” or intending to “reward such improper performance” and (ii) “where it is known or believed by the person offering the bribe that the acceptance of the advantage in itself constitutes the improper performance of a relevant function or activity.”

For the receiver of the bribe the Act also provides for general offences relating to the receiving of financial or other advantage. The offence firstly covers the situation where such advantage is requested, or where a person agrees to receive or accept such advantage. The person in receipt will also intend that a relevant function or activity is performed improperly. It is important to remember that it does not matter if the improper performance is by the receiver or another person.

Secondly, under the Act, the request, agreement or acceptance of an advantage in itself constitutes the improper performance of a relevant function or activity and therefore an offence. It does not matter whether the receiver knows or believes that the performance of the function or activity is improper.

The definition of functions and activities under the Act includes public and government sectors, business activities and actions outside the UK. It will also be classed as a relevant function or activity if there is an expectation that the activities are to be carried out by a person in good faith, who should act impartially and by a person in a position of trust. “Improper performance” is, as you would expect, defined widely and covers acts and omissions that breach an expectation that a person will act in good faith and/or are in a position of trust, as outlined previously.

Specialist advice

If you would like specialist legal advice on how the Bribery Act could affect your business and employees, and on how to implement measures that provide protection, please contact David Heys on 0116 212 1000.