By Daniel Hunter

The Fraud, Investigations and Disputes Services (FIDS) team at Ernst & Young has revealed new research revealing that almost three quarters (72%) of middle managers are still not aware of the UK Bribery Act.

The results are particularly surprising given that UK Plc is fast approaching the one year anniversary of the Act, which came into force in July 2011.

Furthermore, of the 28% of middle managers who had heard of the Bribery Act, only just over half (55%) felt they had received adequate training to ensure compliance with the Act. The study, which polled one thousand UK middle managers, indicates a lack of preparation by many organizations and possibly confusion surrounding the Act, which to date has only seen one minor case involving a local court clerk.

“With the Bribery Act only three months away from its first anniversary, it is alarming to see that the overwhelming majority of those at managerial level are still unaware of it, given that it is applicable to all UK businesses," John Smart, partner at Ernst & Young explained.

“The lack of reported cases may have lulled organisations into a false sense of security. Either they are underestimating bribery risk, do not feel sufficiently educated to give their staff adequate guidance, or they are failing to see the urgency in ensuring that their organisations are Bribery Act compliant.

“The survey results should serve as a stark warning to firms that they should ramp up their compliance procedures to ensure that clear anti-bribery policies are in place as the anniversary gets nearer and that relevant staff at the least receive sufficient training. The Bribery Act affects British businesses and many foreign ones too.”

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