the plan.com anti-bribery and corruption policy
Bribery Act 2010 - UK and Bribery Act 2013 - Isle of Man
The UK Bribery Act (BA 2010) received Royal Assent in April 2010 and came into force on 1 July 2011. The Isle of Man Bribery Act 2013 (BA 2013) received Royal Assent on 21 May 2013 and came into force 16 December 2013. Together throughout this policy they are referred to as the Bribery Acts.
It is accepted that bribery undermines democracy and the rule of law and poses very serious threats to sustained economic progress in developing and emerging economies and to the proper operation of free markets generally.
It is plan.com's policy to conduct all of its business in an honest and ethical manner. Plan.com takes a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and is committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships wherever we operate: implementing and enforcing effective systems to counter bribery and corruption. We will uphold all laws relevant to countering bribery and corruption in all the jurisdictions in which we operate. However, we remain bound by the laws of the Isle of Man (IOM) and the United Kingdom (UK), including the BA 2013 and the BA 2010 in respect of our conduct both at home and abroad.
The BA 2013 is comparable with the BA 2010. Isle of Man businesses doing business in the UK will already be familiar with the requirements of the BA 2010 and this is the primary reason why the BA 2013 was introduced as a new piece of legislation rather than by amendment of the previous legislation, the Corruption Act 2008.
Both the BA 2010 and BA 2013 make it an offence for either a UK or IOM citizen or resident respectively to offer or to promise to pay or receive a bribe, either directly or indirectly. The Bribery Acts create three main offences:
- bribing a person to induce or reward them to perform a relevant function improperly;
- requesting, accepting or receiving a bribe as a reward for performing a relevant function improperly; or
- using a bribe to influence a foreign official to gain a business advantage.
A relevant function can be any activity associated with the private or public sector provided that the function should be carried out in either good faith, impartially or that the person performing it is in a position of trust.
The Bribery Acts provide for transactions that take place in the UK, the IOM and abroad, and in the public and private sectors. Commercial organisations can also commit an offence if they, or an associate, commits bribery on their behalf to gain or retain a business advantage. However, it is a defence, in this case, for the organisation to have in place adequate procedures to prevent bribery.
Under the Bribery Acts there is the new corporate offence of failing to prevent persons associated with it from bribing. Associated person means any person (individual or an incorporated or unincorporated body) who performs services for or on behalf of the organisation. It makes no difference if the organisation had no knowledge of the bribe or where in the world the bribery takes place. The only defence is, can the organisation prove it had adequate procedures in place to prevent persons associated with it from bribing?
As with the guidance issued by the Ministry of Justice under the BA 2010 (UK Guidance), the IOM Guidance issued by the Department of Home Affairs does not define "adequate" procedures - it is for the courts to decide whether the procedures were adequate taking into account the particular facts and circumstances of the case. However, both suggest Organisations should adopt a proportionate and risk-based approach.
Plan.com through its board of directors have considered the Bribery Acts and the guidance provided and their impact on the business of plan.com. They have agreed to take a risk based approach and consequently have agreed to adopt and instill the six principles stated in both the BA 2010 and the BA 2013 into our business.
Who Is Caught
The Bribery Acts apply to all individuals working for plan.com at all levels within the organisation, including senior managers, officers, directors, employees (whether permanent, fixed-term or temporary), consultants, contractors as well as agents, business partners, resellers or any other person associated with plan.com.
Application of the Six Principles
As with the UK Guidance, the IOM Guidance considers anti-bribery policies and procedures should be informed by six principles, however, they are not prescriptive. They are intended to be flexible and outcome focused and applied in the circumstances of the particular organisation. Plan.com has adopted all six principles across its business:
1. Proportionate procedures
Plan.com.'s procedures are clear, practical, accessible and proportionate to the company's activities and the bribery and corruption risks it faces depending on both the industry and geographical locations of the markets in which we operates. Plan.com has introduced policies and procedures to cover its commitment to bribery prevention, its general approach to mitigating specific risks and an overview of its anti-bribery implementation strategy.
2. Top-level commitment
Top-level management within plan.com have an appropriate degree of involvement in developing anti-bribery procedures and effectively communicate these internally and externally as well as promoting a culture where bribery is never considered acceptable.
3. Risk assessment
Periodic proportionate risk assessments of the nature and extent of exposure to internal and external risks of bribery by persons associated with plan.com are regularly undertaken and documented by management. This helps ensure the entire company and our employees will have an up-to-date understanding of the bribery risks we face.
4. Due diligence
Plan.com takes a proportionate and risk-based approach and has a clear policy on the selection of all employees and associated persons, including all our business partners and contracting parties.
5. Communication (training)
Anti-bribery policies and procedures are understood throughout plan.com at all levels. This has been achieved by internal and external communication and through tailored training to employee and associated persons.
6. Monitoring and review
Plan.com continually monitors, reviews and improves its procedures to ensure it works effectively and its procedures are being consistently followed. Plan.com has a whistleblowing procedure which is an important tool to detect corruption and other failures in anti-bribery procedures. This policy is clearly stated in our staff handbook.
What is acceptable practise?
Bona fide reasonable and appropriate hospitality and promotional, or other business expenditure which seeks to improve the image of a commercial organisation, better to present products and services, or establish cordial relations, is recognised as an established part of doing business. However, such hospitality must always be proportionate and reasonable otherwise it may be considered a bribe.
In order to amount to a bribe under the Bribery Acts there must be an intention for a financial or other advantage to influence the third party in order to thereby secure business or a business advantage.
The giving and accepting of gifts is allowed if the following requirements are met:
- it is not made with the intention of influencing a third party to obtain or retain business or a business advantage, or to reward the provision or retention of business or a business advantage, or in explicit or implicit exchange for favours or benefits;
- it does not include cash or a cash equivalent (such as gift certificates or vouchers);
- it is appropriate in the circumstances, taking account of the reason for the gift, its timing and value.
- it is given openly, not secretly, and it complies with any applicable local law.
- Plan.com appreciates that the practice varies between countries and regions and what may be normal and acceptable in one region may not be in another. The test to be applied is whether in all the circumstances the gift, hospitality or payment is reasonable and justifiable. The intention behind it should always be considered.
What is not acceptable practise?
Any payments in excess of what would be reasonable in all the circumstances would not be acceptable and any suspicions should be brought to the attention of a manager. This is particularly important where those payments could be considered to facilitate kickback payments made, for instance to secure or expedite a routine or necessary action.
What to do if you believe there has been a bribe?
Plan.com encourages all its staff to raise any concerns or suspicions about corruption with their manager by following the whistleblowing policy. All staff are informed of the importance of this policy and the importance of detecting and reporting any and all forms of corruption, and in particular, to consider any "red flag" scenarios. The prevention of bribery is the responsibility of the staff of plan.com and any member of staff who breaches this policy will face disciplinary action which could result in their dismissal for gross misconduct.
Training around the importance of the Bribery Acts to the business of plan.com is provided to all staff including on their induction. Plan.com has a zero tolerance to bribery and corruption in the business environment and this ethic is passed down from the board of the directors to all suppliers, contractors and business partners.
Through the training of plan.com staff it is expected that they will identify and report any bribery or corruption to ensure the effective implementation of this policy and ensure the culture of the business is preserved.
Overall commitment to anti-bribery and corruption
Plan.com's executive team have primary and day-to-day responsibility for implementing this policy, and for monitoring its use and effectiveness. Management at all levels are responsible for ensuring those reporting to them are made aware of and understand this Code.
Plan.com keep all financial records and have appropriate internal controls in place which will evidence the business reason for making payments to third parties. There is also a process of declaration required for all gifts accepted and offered.
We believe plan.com has shown a demonstrable commitment to preventing bribery through the leadership of its senior management and they have set out the ethical basis on which the company does business. This leadership is evidenced by its zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and what the consequences of bribery and corruption are, for its individuals and for the company.