By Max Clarke

Following yesterday’s publication of the Ministry of Justice’s guidelines for the 2010 Bribery Act, there has been a great deal of comment on the various legal ramifications of the stricter, anti-corruption policy for businesses in general.

The Act, however, poses a different series of challenges for the small businesses, which may not have the legal knowledge or staff power to implement anti-corruption strategies. If someone in a business is found guilty of offering or receiving a bribe, the company will be held liable if a correct strategy is not put in place, which could destroy the business.

Speaking to Fresh Business Thinking, Simon Streat, Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Managing Director for Experian UK & Ireland, discusses the Bribery Act and small business:

“Small firms certainly need to gain a basic level of understanding about the Bribery Act, as it carries the threat of criminal conviction for directors that fail to carry out sufficient background checks on employees found guilty of fraud. While a criminal conviction is very serious, what many small firms fail to realise is that it can also impact on their business’ credit scores and affect their ability to secure new business or finance. It is, therefore, really important that directors ensure they have robust internal procedures when it comes to recruitment.

“For small companies that are not well versed in regulatory law, we would recommend they seek out help from relevant business support organisations and networks so that they minimise the risk of getting into legal trouble. This will also enable them to continue to fully focus on their core business offering.”