Media Defence is committed to operating with the highest standards of integrity and promoting a culture in which accountability flourishes. We take a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships, wherever we operate, and implementing and enforcing effective systems to counter bribery.
This policy outlines the measures which Media Defence takes to prevent bribery and the procedures that should be followed if bribery occurs. It aims to help the organisation to uphold all laws relevant to countering bribery and corruption in all the jurisdictions in which it conducts business, including, in the UK, the Bribery Act 2010 (the Act), which applies to conduct both in the UK and abroad.
This policy applies to all employees, volunteers, trustees, partner organisation, grantees, consultants, contractors, seconded staff, and service suppliers working with Media Defence.
Bribery Act 2010
1.1. Staff code of conduct
1.2. Partner Code of Conduct
1.3. Finance and Operations Manual
1.4. Procurement policy
1.5. Whistleblowing policy
1.6. Disciplinary policy
Bribery: A bribe is an inducement or reward offered, promised or provided in order to improperly gain any commercial, contractual, regulatory or personal advantage, which may constitute an offence under the Act, namely:
• giving or offering a bribe;
• receiving or requesting a bribe; or
• bribing a public official.
Examples of bribery may include:
• a potential supplier offering you some money or a gift in order to influence a tendering process
• a job applicant offering to pay you to increase his/her chance of being offer employment
• offering a gift (e.g. excessive hospitality) to a local official in return for approval of a registration/application
• offering payment to a government official in order to speed up or complete a process they are otherwise required to perform such as customs clearance or border/immigration control.
It is illegal to give or receive a bribe under the Bribery Act and organisations are liable for bribes taken or given on their behalf where they do not have adequate preventive procedures in place.
Facilitation payments: Facilitation payments are payments which induce officials to perform routine functions they are otherwise obligated to perform. Facilitation payments are bribes and there is no exemption for them under the Bribery Act. Facilitation payments do not include legally required administrative fees and fees for legitimate fast-track services.
Gifts and hospitality: These can range from small gifts (such as diaries) to expensive hospitality (tickets for major events, holidays etc). Hospitality or promotional expenditure which is proportionate and reasonable to demonstrating goods or services or reflecting your good relations is unlikely to qualify as a bribe. However extravagant gifts and hospitality may be used to disguise bribes that are intended to induce improper behaviour (eg to fix the outcome of a tendering process).
Media Defence entrusts all individuals across the organisation to take a proactive role in improving the organisation’s anti-bribery policy and practice.
Trustees: The trustees will provide leadership, resources and active support for the implementation of this policy. They are responsible for ensuring that this policy and any associated policies are fit for purpose and complied with.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & Finance and Operating Director (FOD)
The Chief Executive is responsible for ensuring that these policies and procedures are implemented consistently and with clear lines of authority. The Chief Executive and Finance and Operations Director will actively and visibly lead the organisation’s anti-bribery policy and practice.
The Finance and Operating Director is responsible for ensuring that the spirit of this policy is incorporated into all aspects of Media Defence’s people management including recruitment, promotion, training, performance evaluation, remuneration and reward – and that these policies are continually improved in consultation with staff.
Finance and Operating Director is also responsible for ensuring that the spirit of this policy is incorporated into all aspects of Media Defence’s finance management including corporate accounting, gifts, staff expenses and donations – and that these policies are continually improved in consultation with staff.
Managers: Managers are responsible for holding their direct reports and project partners to account. They are responsible for ensuring that their projects are properly planned and that risks are assessed and managed in line with this policy.
Individuals: Individuals are responsible for not giving or receiving bribes and challenging instances where bribery may occur. They are also responsible for reporting all bribery that they are aware of via the procedures laid out in this policy.
Top Level Commitment
Media Defence is committed to tackling bribery at the highest level. Media Defence clearly articulates its zero tolerance policy on bribery externally on its website and internally in relevant policies.
Media Defence risk assesses the organisation annually in consultation with staff and reviews the risks
presented by bribery as part of this.
Media Defence recognises that the threat of bribery varies across countries, areas of work, partners and transactions and that our organisation must respond proportionately to those risks. Therefore, projects which involve working with partners or overseas are individually risk assessed, in addition to the annual organisational risk assessment.
Risk assessment materials are available from the Charity Commission website, available here.
Media Defence recognises that good anti-bribery practice starts from the outset of employing an individual. It therefore requires a commitment to preventing bribery in all person specifications for job vacancies. In addition, a thorough programme of staff communication and training is provided (see section 8).
Staff managing projects overseas will receive anti-bribery training before they begin their assignments. Staff travelling overseas on work related travel will consider bribery and anti-bribery mitigation in their travel risk assessments. Managers must assess and manage the risks associated with working in specific countries or sectors before assignments start.
Working with Service Suppliers and in Partnerships
Media Defence is liable under the Bribery Act if a person “associated” with it bribes another intending to obtain or retain business or a business advantage for Media Defence. The act’s definition of an associate is deliberately broad to include individuals, incorporated and unincorporated bodies supplying services to Media Defence (rather than just goods) or acting on Media Defence’s behalf as a partner or agent.
Media Defence requires all individuals working with grantees and partners of behalf of Media Defence to ensure that:
• grantees and partners are selected through a transparent and competitive selection process. See Media Defence’s Grant Making Policy for more information
• due diligence is carried out on grantees and partners before entering into contracts (see 8)
• all grantees and suppliers are briefed on Media Defence’s anti-bribery policy and provided with a copy to brief their own staff
• contractual agreements explicitly prohibit the giving or receiving of bribes on behalf of Media Defence.
Charitable and Political Donations
A political contribution is a donation made to a politician, a political party or a political campaign. Charities are not permitted to make political donations and therefore political donations are not permitted on behalf of Media Defence.
Staff should ensure that any donation received by Media Defence is not an incentive to conduct its business improperly. All donations must be approved by Media Defence’s CEO, Finance and Operations Director or Board Chair.
All staff and suppliers must understand and comply with Media Defence’s anti-bribery policy. To ensure that this is communicated, Media Defence:
• publishes this policy on the staff intranet and on its external website
• revises and publishes its code of conduct to explicitly forbid the giving or receiving of bribes and ensures that individuals sign up to this annually
• briefs all staff on Media Defence’s anti-bribery policy, as part of the organisation’s induction as a minimum
• regularly raises awareness of the anti-bribery policies to all trustees, the chief executive officer, the directors, and individuals working with grantees and partners
What staff should do if they are offered or asked for a bribe:
• Individuals should reject demands for or offers of bribes and Media Defence’s anti-bribery stance should be made clear. For practical problem scenarios and recommended approaches, see Resisting Extortion and Solicitation in International Transactions by Transparency International, available here.
• If payments are demanded under threat of physical violence and/or harm, the individual should pay and leave without fear or recrimination, reporting the incident to their manager as soon as possible. Managers should plan their operations and have security procedures to reduce the risk of payments being requested under duress.
Where bribery is suspected or where it occurs:
To enable proper investigation, staff should record the details of any bribery or requested or attempted bribery, as soon as possible after the event. Any instances of actual or potential bribery should be properly and promptly investigated by a director under Media Defence’s Whistleblowing Policy.
The objectives of an investigation should be to:
• Confirm whether or not a bribe has taken place, and to identify who was responsible.
• Confirm whether internal controls and anti-bribery procedures have worked in practice.
• Identify any improvements required to anti-bribery procedures.
Depending on the findings of the investigation, subsequent action will be determined. This may involve disciplinary action against staff involved or external reporting to:
• A senior official or director of another organisation, if the person making the bribe is from that organisation
• Local police/ law enforcement agencies (if deemed appropriate)
• Serious Fraud Office (in the UK has primary responsibility for the UK Bribery Act)
• Relevant government department where the bribe took place
• The Charity Commission, if the matter is considered a “serious incident”
See Media Defence’s Disciplinary and Whistleblowing Policies for further information.
Monitoring and Review
This policy will be reviewed annually or after a significant change in operations or a significant incident, whichever is sooner in consultation with Media Defence staff.
Reviewed: Oct 2019
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