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Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) and BS10500

The UK Bribery Act 2010 challenges most organisations to put appropriate mechanisms in place to guard against the risk of a member of staff bribing a third party. This law aims to do much more than deal with large-scale, multi-million dollar bribes; it is also designed to eliminate much lower-level bribery, and affects corporate hospitality, gift-giving and 'facilitation payments. While large enterprises may be able to afford extensive legal advice to put appropriate safeguards in place, this cost is likely to be beyond the reach of many smaller organisations in the public, private and third sectors.


For these organisations, the guidance provided by a documented British Standard, and the opportunity to put in place an Anti-Bribery Management System that follows the established principles and structure of ISO9001 and many other related management systems, will significantly simplify the process of compliance.

BS10500 contains everything necessary to transform the Bribery Act's legislation into practical policies, processes and procedures. It helps organisations put the correct anti-bribery practices in place and ensure, with PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act), that they are being implemented adequately.

The scope of implementing a BS10500 ABMS requires organisations to consider:

  • the size of an organisation;
  • the countries and sectors that it operates within;
  • the nature, scale and complexity of business activities and operations;
  • the existing business and potential business;
  • applicable statutory, regulatory, contractual or professional obligations.

Appropriate mechanisms have been devised to guard the organisation and its members of staff from accepting as well as proposing bribes or gifts. Such an offence does not have to be premeditated and the person responsible may be ignorant of the nature of their act of kindness. This is why it is important to create and maintain the practice of staff awareness and their vulnerabilities.

The Bribery Act 2010 included a new section to the policy, Section 7: Failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery. This means that all commercial organisations are liable to prosecution if a person associated with it bribes another person, intending to obtain or retain business, or to gain an advantage in the conduct of business for that organisation, notwithstanding the prosecution of organisations that accept the bribe.

Organisations are expected to have the correct procedures in place to enable them to deal appropriately with, and respond to, the offer of a bribe and policies in place to ensure a bribe is not offered.

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