The Bribery Act 2010, which came into force on July 1, will not be the ‘death of corporate hospitality’, according to a leading lawyer and fraud expert.
Andrew Northage, a director in the Regulatory group at Walker Morris, was speaking at a lunch at The Cooking School, Halifax about the impact of the new Act on corporate hospitality and business entertainment.
He told the audience of marketing heads and other senior managers: “What people would call normal client hospitality, such as a day at the cricket or a cooking course at The Cooking School, will be fine.
“Businesses should do a risk assessment of the corporate hospitality they offer and also what their employees receive. The more lavish the hospitality, the greater the risk, but it is the intention behind it that is most important. Hospitality designed to build, or build on, good business relationships is outside the scope of the Act.
“Honesty and transparency are the enemies of corruption so my advice is to have a register of what hospitality you offer and what your own employees receive. Put everything into the register, including who accepts what, offers of hospitality declined and if any business was gained following an event. This type of register will help you to look at trends and spot if anything goes wrong.”
Barbara Govan, business manager at The Cooking School, which offers both corporate hospitality and team building events, said: “Businesses who came to the event were reassured that they won’t be breaking the law if they continue to offer and accept reasonable corporate hospitality. Andrew’s advice that if ‘something smells wrong, then it probably is’ and his tips for setting up a hospitality register were sensible and practical, helping to clarify concerns about the impact of the new Act.”
Profits from The Cooking School go to its partner organisation Focus on Food, the UK’s leading food education charitable trust.