Three years ago, there were seldom other words at work that annoyed me more than “The Bribery Act”.
The Bribery Act 2010 (The Act) first came into force back on 1 July 2011 and for a while evoked mild panic when trying to determine what you could not only offer to clients but to also accept yourself. I would say the hype has now definitely died down and hand on heart can say I was faced with no more than 5 incidents where I was asked to tell clients the exact cost of hospitality I was offering and in all instances, it was cleared.
It seems we all panicked for nothing and from any research I have done on The Act it seems that our lovely corporate hospitality offerings were not in-fact the focus of The Act. Everyone knows that in business, the offer and acceptance of hospitality is a legitimate and well-recognized form of actually doing business. Leisurely lunches not only spent at Michelin starred restaurants but boxes at Ascot, Henley and the like are all common place and I think, the prime opportunity to actually talk business.
In regards to what constitutes a breach of the act, according to the SFO (Serious Fraud Office), they will only prosecute if it is in the public interest to do so. I wanted to be a Lawyer, however I am not, so for more information, you can find their guidelines for business here.
Now when I said that the words annoyed me in wasn’t in regards clients, it was in relation to myself. We event managers get offered A LOT of free stuff. We get offers to stay in fancy hotels for the night to do site inspections, we get offers to the opening of an envelope (must start going to more of these) and are also invited to take frequent trips overseas as hosted buyers. All of this is legitimate and I personally got a lot out of trying different champagnes and flying to Paris however when The Act first came to life we had to start being more accountable and writing down everything we accepted. Writing down 2 x glasses of champagne and 1 x pen as a gift, to me, sounds stupid but apparently its necessary in order to comply with The Act. I make sure I write down everything but I honestly wonder do all Event Managers? If you are an Event Manager and reading this I would be really grateful to hear whether you do or not?