Procurement and Contracting

Procurement and Contracting

5 things you need to do now to prepare for anti-bribery and corruption reforms in 2019

by Michael Young on Thursday, May 16, 2019 with 0 comments

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Are you ready for the upcoming anti-bribery and corruption reforms?


Hot on the heels of the new modern slavery legislation, new laws are set to get tough on foreign corporate bribery. For example, the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2017 (Cth) will place increased responsibility onto companies to prevent foreign bribery.

In other words, it will be an offence to fail to prevent foreign bribery.

 

As Pamela Hanrahan, professor of law at the University of NSW, explained in Company Director Magazine:

“It’s your fault if somebody else does it unless you can prove you had adequate arrangements in place to protect against bribery.”

But it’s not only foreign corruption you should be targeting. 


Just look at Queensland Health. The Brisbane Times recently reported how staff in charge of contracts at some of Queensland’s hospital and health services have been cutting corners when awarding contracts, which opens them up to corruption risks. The fact is, procurement plays a significant role in preventing bribery and corruption in Australia and overseas. Your goal is to demonstrate the company’s ability to act ethically and to do the right thing.


Here’s what the Australian Government says:

“Whether working with the Government or in a private capacity, business must ensure it complies with the law; Australian law, the laws of the country in which they are trading and other foreign jurisdictions. The Australian Government will not work with (or may suspend the services to) companies that do not share its ethical standards.”

Simple as that. 


In practice, this means companies need to start preparing for the changes. While this isn’t the sole task of Procurement, there are a few essential things you should do now:


1. Get familiar with the changes

Be aware of the changes and what they mean for your company and the way you work. The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) has just released a guide for Australia companies doing business offshore. 

This guide provides practical steps for building a culture of compliance within an organisation to manage the risks of bribery and corruption.


2. Watch for legal developments in 2019

Things can change quickly, so continue to check for new legislation developments and guidance. The Austrade websiteis a good source of information.


3. Start reviewing internal policies and procedures

See what policies are already in place in your organisation, and how procurement plays a role. Will these policies and procedures ensure your organisation meets the new anti-bribery and corruption obligations? If not, work with other departments to create an effective ABC compliance program. Review this periodically to ensure they are still effective and compliant. 


4. Train your procurement team

Train procurement employees who are likely to be exposed to bribery or corruption so they know how to recognise and deal with it. 


5. Build an ethical culture

Start with a code of conduct that outlines ethical policies and procedures. This helps your team make good decisions and gives them a framework for dealing with questionable situations. Make sure you also communicate your culture to suppliers.


And finally, brush up on contract law - check out our Introduction to Contract Law short course.


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