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Compliance concerns in focus as U.K. implements regulatory changes

The U.K. revamps its anti-bribery enforcement policies, impacting businesses worldwide

With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, the United States government showed an increased emphasis on dealing with corruption issues head-on. Now, this attitude seems to have spread across the pond, as the United Kingdom has implemented new policies inspired by Dodd-Frank in order to ramp up its own dealings with graft and bribery.

The British government recently unveiled this new strategy, which will reorganize its approach to corruption and bribery. One key facet of this new strategy that was clearly inspired by the Dodd-Frank Act was a new system to reward whistleblowers. The proposed system would reward individuals who provide tips about potential corporate wrongdoing. 

Another aspect of the strategy involves the streamlining of policies and procedures, encouraging cooperation among multiple governmental agencies, including the newly formed National Crime Agency. It will take the lead in dealing with bribery and corruption tied to organized crime, have its own investigators, and work closely with other agencies such as the Serious Fraud Office. This office will act as the lead agency charged with investigating corporate bribery and corruption.

Other organizations involved in the new comprehensive strategy are the U.K. Home Office, which will handle domestic anti-bribery investigations, as well as the Cabinet Office and the Department for International Development, which will deal with foreign investigations. 

What does this mean for U.S. lawyers? The increased cooperation may result in greater scrutiny and an increased number of bribery investigations. Also, the new incentives could serve to encourage more workers to blow the whistle on corporations, so legal departments in companies that operate in the U.K. would be wise to revisit compliance policies and shore them up.

 

For related stories, check out:

Dodd-Frank Act making compliance tough for some international banks

Regulatory: Why the SEC’s proposed pay-ratio rule will increase compliance costs

SEC payment signals support of whistleblower program

Dodd-Frank ruling is a mixed blessing for employers

Senior Editor

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Senior Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance beats. Rich earned a B.A. in English Literature...

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