Tips to avoid bribery and corruption in procurement

When an organisation deals with suppliers, it can put procurement professionals at risk of bribery.…...

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When an organisation deals with suppliers, it can put procurement professionals at risk of bribery. Bribery is unacceptable in the UK and is also illegal under the Bribery Act 2010. But in some nations, bribery is not judged illegal. Rather, it is viewed as a way to build good relationships with clients. Nevertheless, organisations in the UK must protect themselves and ensure they don’t get caught in the bribery net. It is essential to have policies and procedures in place to prevent procurement from falling prey to bribery.

Creating an anti-bribery policy

CPOs should draft a bribery policy containing specific instructions that prevent employees from receiving and giving gifts. Matters in the policy should include the following:

  • Cash
  • Gifts – a company can prohibit giving and receiving gifts, or choose a specified value and ensure that gifts given or taken are of low value
  • Hospitality provided to procurement professionals by suppliers and vendors
  • Anything that violates the company policy
  • Anything that suggests the procurement professional would have to return the favour

Understanding cultural differences

Even though Brexit has hit a roadblock, it will happen eventually. So, your organisation may be looking beyond Europe for suppliers and vendors. Procurement professionals in your organisations should be aware that, in some cases, it is appropriate to accept gifts. For instance, if a Chinese supplier comes to the UK to meet you, it would be rude to decline the gift they offer.

That said, organisations should not leave individuals to judge. Rather, the anti-bribery policy should account for cultural differences, ensuring that the method of taking and giving gifts is transparent and open. That way, procurement professionals in the organisation will know when it is okay to accept gifts.

The bottom line

Procurement should know when they are being bribed. While open bribes, like slipping an envelope stuffed with money, are rare, most bribes are offered in a subtle manner and procurement staff may not realise that they are being bribed. So, procurement should be instructed to not accept invitations and gifts unwittingly, as it could have a profound impact on the credibility of your brand. Procurement professionals should be trained to decline gifts and invitations that are inappropriate. It will help to minimise corruption and bribery in your supply chain.

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