Implications of the Bribery Act for higher education

Bribery has traditionally not been considered a high management risk for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Recent changes in UK law however, mean a rethink is needed. This Talking Points outlines some of the new risks facing HEIs and the ways in which these may be addressed.

The Bribery Act 2010, which comes into force on 1 July 2011 outlines four corporate offences, three of which also apply to individuals.  An HEI that is found to have committed any bribery offence could face unlimited finds and may come under scrutiny from HEFCE.  In addition, individuals could face a ten year prison sentence and, again, an unlimited fine.

The publication concludes that an HEI should give serious consideration to conducting a bribery risk assessment to determine the adequacy of its existing procedures and identify what further steps may be required.  For those who are not yet confident of their Bribery Act response, the time to act is now.