The waiting is over! At last the UK Ministry of Justice has published guidance about procedures which commercial organisations can put into place to prevent persons associated with them from bribing. The Act will now come into force on 1 July 2011.

The guidance offers non-prescriptive procedures and commentary on the scope of the Act. As the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke, said this morning in his statement on the publication of the guidance “These are quite tough rules. But what the guidance I am also publishing today underlines – after helpful consultation with businesses, and NGOs – is that combating bribery is about common sense, not bureaucracy.”

At the core of the guidance are proportionality and risk assessment which should give comfort to those small and medium sized enterprises worried at the prospect of having to spend a fortune on putting in place complex, burdensome polices and procedures. Of limited comfort is the Secretary of State’s indication that there will not be a large number of prosecutions and certainly not for trivial cases but these decisions are not his to make and will be decided by the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Director of the Serious Fraud Office.

Click here for more information about the guidance.