The UK Bribery Act 2010 was just a first of its kind, introducing a new type of corporate criminal offence for ‘failure to prevent’. For these offences, the only defence is to have an adequate compliance programme in place, which has reasonable prevention procedures in place. For compliance programmes to have an effect, a communication campaign is pivotal.
The ‘failure to prevent’ principle is expanding to a ‘failure to prevent criminal facilitation of tax evasion’ under the Criminal Finances Bill 2016–17. This renders corporate bodies liable, in certain circumstances, for the acts of their ‘associated persons’.
These new offences are expected to come into effect in Autumn 2017. Now that the proposals and the associated guidance are in near final form, businesses should start assessing their risk and associated compliance programmes.
This becomes a good basis to work from when a broader ‘failure to prevent economic crime’ offence comes into effect.