Bribery and Fraud Policy
Last Updated 21 Mar 2017 in Business Conduct
The Society has a zero tolerance approach towards all fraud, bribery and corruption. This policy explains how such crimes are dealt with and should be read in conjunction with the Hospitality & Gifts Policy.
Key points covered:
How we define economic crime
How to report any suspicions of bribery or fraud
The responsibilities managers hold in dealing with these issues
Bribery and Fraud Policy
1.1. The Society has a zero tolerance approach towards all fraud, bribery and corruption (“economic crimes”) in the workplace, as these affect the integrity and business reputation of the Society. Economic crimes also cause the Society’s resources to be wrongfully diverted and not used for their intended purpose.
1.2. This Policy explains what economic crime is, provides guidance to colleagues, ensuring they can (a) recognise economic crime and (b) understand the correct reporting requirements and procedure.
1.3. This Policy should be read in conjunction with the Society’s “Hospitality and Gifts Policy”. This refers to the risk of accepting or providing any gift or hospitality where such acceptance or provision can give the impression that colleagues have been influenced while acting in their official capacity given this behaviour can be seen as bribery.
2.1. This Policy applies to all colleagues; full-time and part-time colleagues on a permanent or fixed-term contract, and to associated persons, agency staff contractors and others employed under a contract of service by the Society
2.2. This Policy also applies to spouses, partners or other associates if it can be perceived that the bribery or fraudulent act is in fact for the benefit of the interested colleague.
3. Definition of Economic Crime
3.1. The law in the UK that deals with fraud is the Fraud Act 2006, which created a criminal offence of fraud and defines three ways of committing it:
3.1.1. Fraud by false representation
3.1.2. Fraud by failing to disclose information
3.1.3. Fraud by abuse of position.
3.2. Fraud occurs when a person’s conduct is dishonest and their intention is to make a gain, or cause a loss (or the risk of a loss) to another party, for example the Society, a colleague or a supplier.
3.3. Fraud carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
3.4. The law in the UK that deals with bribery is the Bribery Act 2010. This introduced a corporate offence where commercial organisations are exposed to criminal liability, punishable by an unlimited fine, for failing to prevent bribery.
3.5. Bribery is generally defined as giving or offering someone a financial or other advantage, to encourage that person to perform their functions, or activities, improperly; or to reward that person for having already done so; or requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting the advantage offered.
3.6. Bribery carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine.
3.7. This Policy explains the controls the Society has in place to comply with relevant legislation.
4. Reporting Procedure
4.1. Any suspicions and/or allegations of bribery or fraud within the Society, by any applicable party as set out in clause 2. should be reported to the Society’s Secretary & Head of Governance, as well as the Head of Internal Audit as soon as they arise. The contact details can be found in clause 7.
4.2. Any accusations of fraud or bribery will be thoroughly investigated and, if found to be true, will result in disciplinary action being taken against the applicable party(ies) and, in some cases, may lead to dismissal.
4.3. Any accusations of fraud or bribery found to be malicious could result in disciplinary action being taken against those making the false allegations.
4.4. The Society is prepared to take cases of fraud or bribery to the Police or other relevant authority, regardless of any person’s relationship with the Society, their position, or their length of service. This could result in prison sentences being imposed on the perpetrators.
4.5. The Society may take action to recover any money, assets or stock lost as a result of fraud or bribery; it can do so by:
4.5.1. Retaining the lost money, or the value of the lost assets or stock, directly from the relevant colleague(s) pay.
4.5.2. Applying to the Court of Law to freeze the assets of the concerned colleague(s) to secure payment of any fine imposed on the Society as a result of their actions.
4.6. Colleagues should not be afraid to report genuine suspicions of fraud, bribery or corruption. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects employees who have reasonable concerns, and they will not suffer discrimination or victimisation for following the correct procedures.
4.7. A useful DO’S and DONT’S guidance is enclosed to this Policy in Appendix 1, which summarises what actions colleagues should, or should not, take to comply with this Policy.
5. Managers’ Responsibilities
5.1. All managers are responsible for ensuring that this Policy is adhered to within their business area. Managers should ensure that all colleagues in their teams are aware of fraud, bribery and corruption risks, and that they understand the importance of protecting the Society against them.
5.2. If a manager suspects, or is made aware, that someone in their team or a third party may be committing fraud, bribery or corruption, they must immediately report their suspicions (see clause 4.1).
5.3. Managers should in no circumstances investigate suspicions or allegations themselves.
6. Reporting Other Concerns Anonymously
6.1. If colleagues wish to report any concern, other than economic crime, they should refer to the Society’s “Whistleblowing Policy” for details on how to report their concerns anonymously through the whistleblowing confidential line (0800 458 78 09).
6.2. The Society’s Whistleblowing Policy can be found here.
6.3. Alternatively, colleagues can raise their concerns, in confidence and directly to the Executive, through the “Speak in Confidence” service launched in January 2017; this is an online service, and concerns can be logged here.
7. Contact Details
7.1. The Society’s Secretary & Head of Governance is Edward Parker, who can be contacted by email: email@example.com or by telephone: 01926 516 006 – mobile: 07976 055 427.
7.2. The Society’s Head of Internal Audit is Harnaik Dhillon, who can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: 01926 516 105 – mobile: 07720 367 170.
7.3. Both the Secretary and the Head of Internal Audit can also be contacted by post: The Midcounties Co-operative, Co-operative House, Warwick Technology Park, Warwick CV34 6DA.
8. Breach of Policy and Investigation Process
8.1. Depending on the nature of the incident, the Head of Internal Audit and the Secretary & Head of Governance will decide what action to take and will be responsible for the conduct of the investigation.
8.2. Internal Audit, Loss Prevention and PSG are likely to be involved in the investigation process. Ultimately, the Police or other relevant authorities could become involved.
8.3. The Society will take all reasonable steps to keep confidential the identity of the colleague raising the concerns. However, if there is a requirement for written statements or evidence gathering, either internally or by the Police or other authorities, it may become necessary to disclose the colleague’s identity to maintain the integrity of the investigation.
8.4. It is essential that due process is followed to enable a full and fair investigation and explanation. Individuals suspected of inappropriate actions will be treated fairly, without prejudice, and no conclusions will be made without appropriate examination of all the evidence.
9. Policy Review
9.1. This Policy will be reviewed on a yearly basis and amended as and when required.
Bribery and Fraud Policy: DO’S and DONT’S
NOTE YOUR CONCERNS - record details such as your concerns, names, dates, times, details of conversations and possible witnesses. Time, date and sign your notes
RETAIN EVIDENCE - retain any evidence that may be destroyed, or make a note and report your concerns
REPORT YOUR SUSPICION - confidentiality will be respected – delays may lead to further financial loss to the Society.
CONFRONT THE SUSPECT OR TELL YOUR COLLEAGUES - never attempt to question a suspect yourself; this could alert a fraudster or accuse an innocent person. Report your suspicions
TRY TO INVESTIGATE, OR CONTACT THE AUTHORITIES DIRECTLY - never attempt to gather evidence yourself unless it is about to be destroyed; gathering evidence must take into account legal procedures in order for it to be useful
BE AFRAID OF RAISING YOUR CONCERNS - the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects employees who have reasonable concerns. You will not suffer discrimination or victimisation by following the correct procedures.
Bribery and Fraud Policy
Date of last review: