Bribery is not the new normal

Things, in the short term at least, are likely to be tough in many businesses. Even sectors that do well in times of crisis will find the pressures of increased demand and disrupted supply chains an issue.

Your organisation you will already be getting used to enforced change. There is not only the disruption of markets and supplier chains, the response to lockdown has been very profound in some sectors.

Contracts may be harder to come by and the commercial expectation of added value may subtly (or not so subtly) change. Have you noticed any difference in expectations or tone from your customers?

Extra pressure on individuals will mean that more risks could be taken, including cutting corners to get things done. This could well include getting into supplier or customer relationships that wouldn’t normally be considered.

Broadly speaking, the UK is an honest country. The non-governmental organisation Transparency International ranked the UK as the twelfth most honest jurisdiction in the world. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t bribery or corruption here.

Will individual managers working for you be tempted to make deals that are less than honest? Will individuals fool themselves into saying such deals are astute business or that anyone else would do the same?

Crossing your fingers or wondering if the deal crosses the line into dishonesty shouldn’t be options.

Bribery and corruption are risks, like any other, that can be mitigated with clear policies and processes to address them before they arise. They protect the long-term sustainability of the business – they don’t inhibit it.

Want to know more about ISO 37001?

ITGP offers a pocket guide and other materials to help you set up an ISO 37001-compliant ABMS (anti-bribery management system) to help guard against such risk by setting up policies, processes and engagement to ensure the risks are understood and prepared for.

ISO 37001: An Introduction to Anti-Bribery Management Systems explains how to implement an ABMS that meets the requirements of ISO 37001, from the initial gap analysis to due diligence management.

The author, Alan Field, is a lead auditor and assessor for ISO 37001 and a regular author for ITGP, having written numerous articles on risk management and the strategic processes that govern their effective use.

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