Here’s Donnelly & Elliott’s top tips for giving this festive season.
In the summer of 2011, The Bribery Act came into force. The following Christmas, lawyers across the country seized the opportunity to put the new legislation into the context of yuletide hospitality and present giving: ‘Is your annual gift of a bottle of wine a bribe?’
Amazingly, this popular marketing ploy is still having effect four years later. Maybe due to the constant headlines about political scandals or corruption, we still have corporate clients asking us where they stand on hospitality and giving at this time of year.
So, to be clear, The Bribery Act 2010 was a modernisation of the criminal laws concerning both direct and indirect bribery described as giving “someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly”. Hospitality is not prohibited in the Bribery Act 2010 however, caution should be taken, so here is our Top Five Tips to Christmas Giving:
If you can show your organisation has put adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery, you will not have committed an offence by failing to prevent it. Make sure your company has a clear policy that all staff have seen, agreed to and preferably signed it to confirm they understand (many now include this in staff handbooks or employment contracts).
When sending gifts to customers, we suggest you send the same item, or items of the same value to all. This avoids any possible accusations of favouritism or preferential treatment.
When you have chosen your Christmas Gift, why not take a picture and pop it on social media with a suitably festive comment? You can’t get much more transparent than that.
A box of chocolates or a lunch at a local Italian restaurant is hardly going to arouse suspicion. A three week Caribbean cruise and a Ferrari might.
Have a way of staff recording any hospitality they undertake, and perhaps ensure they entertain in pairs or groups. This will avoid any potential problems your company could be held responsible for.
Should you need any further assistance, Donnelly & Elliott’s team are on hand to review or advise on any issues regarding Christmas giving.
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