As a procurement professional, you are always at risk of bribery. Bribery is unacceptable and is also illegal under the Bribery Act 2010.
However, in some countries, bribery is the norm and is considered a way to build relationships with clients. It is essential that you protect yourself and your organisation and safeguard your reputation.
The only way to ensure this is to have written policies and procedures that minimise the chances of falling into the bribery net.
Making an anti-bribery policy
If you are in procurement, you should ensure that your organisation has a full-fledged anti-bribery policy in place. It should have very specific instructions about receiving and giving gifts.
Some companies allow gifts of a specified value, but that is left to the discretion of the CPOs.
You should ensure that cash gifts, hospitality and anything else that involves returning a favour are part of the anti-bribery policy.
Learning cultural differences
Now that the UK is officially separated from the EU, organisations will be looking at different countries beyond Europe to source goods.
Therefore, it is essential that you and your staff learn about the culture of the countries from which you are sourcing goods. Sometimes, it is perfectly fine to accept a gift, but at other times, it may not be.
If you or other procurement staff receive gifts, it is best to make a judgment call. Remember, your anti-bribery policy should consider the cultural differences that exist in a globalised world.
It is prudent to have a transparent policy that is clear about giving and taking gifts. When you have such a policy in place, it is easier for a procurement professional to determine when it is acceptable for them to receive or give gifts.
Furthermore, procurement should be taught about subtle bribery, as often a person does not even realise that they are being bribed. That is why training and awareness programmes are necessary to ensure a clean and corruption-free supply chain.