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Anti bribery policy

1. Introduction

1.1 This Policy has been prepared in order to ensure that all employees understand their personal duty and obligations in ensuring that neither they, nor the Company, may legitimately face charges or allegations of malpractice or corruption in their business dealings and/or expose the company or themselves to financial liabilities.

1.2 The policy allows Acacium Group to conform with the UK Bribery Act 2010 and the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977. It also aims to protect Acacium Group and its employees from HMRC’s “Transfer of Liability” provisions included within the UK Finance Bill 2016 and similar legislation affecting candidate pay.

1.3 Such safeguards may only be realised when employees conduct themselves, at all times, in an open, honest, and objective manner.

1.4 Any failure to observe any aspect of this written Policy may lead to disciplinary action which could also lead to dismissal.

2. Definitions

CustomersPeople who use the services that Acacium Group provide, including NHS trusts, case management companies and direct service users / patients.
EmployeesInternal employees who work for the company.
Temporary WorkersAgency workers who work for Acacium Group either on a PAYE or limited company contract.
Umbrella CompaniesPeople who use the services that Acacium Group provide, including NHS trusts, case management companies and direct service users/patients.
PSC ProviderUsually a limited company which has been set up to provide the services of a single contractor, who is usually the sole shareholder and company director of the business
BriberyBribing another person – a person is guilty of an offence if they offer, promise or give a financial or other advantage to another person
Conflict of interestA conflict of interest occurs where an individual’s ability to exercise judgement, or act in a role is, could be, or is seen to be impaired or otherwise influenced by his or her involvement in another role or relationship. In some circumstances, it could be reasonably considered that a conflict exists even when there is no actual conflict. In these cases, it is important to still manage these perceived conflicts in order to maintain public trust.
CorruptionIs the deliberate use of one’s position for direct or indirect personal gain? Corruption covers the offering, giving, soliciting, or acceptance, of an inducement or reward, which may influence the action of any person to act inappropriately.
SolicitationsAny deliberate act which is committed against any customer, supplier, or other stakeholder in the business with the intent of obtaining money, gifts, favourable terms, priority, or any benefit.
Money LaunderingIs the process by which criminals attempt to ‘recycle’ the proceeds of their criminal activities in 0rder to conceal its origin and ownership, leaving them money that cannot be traced back?

3. Roles and responsibilities

3.1 The general overall organisational roles and responsibilities are set out in the policy document, ORG1 Policy on Policies for drafting, approval and review of policies, and SOPs.

3.2 The following table outlines the responsibilities of the key people involved in this Policy.

Table 2: Roles and responsibilities in relation to this Policy

CEOResponsible for ensuring that the necessary resources are available to realise our corporate responsibilities.
CFOResponsible for financial oversight and controls across the group, the group Senior Accounting Officer responsible for the relationship with HMRC
The Acacium Group BoardHave a responsibility for ensuring that both the organisational commitment and the resources for being sociably responsible are in place.
Chief People OfficerThe Chief People Officer is responsible for ensuring that HR policies, SOPs, protocols, training and competencies are in place.
Line Managers / appropriate othersResponsible for the performance of our workers, both internal employees and temporary workers.

4. Legislation

UK Bribery Act 2010The Bribery Act 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that covers the criminal law relating to bribery.
United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), enacted in 1977, generally prohibits the payment of bribes to foreign officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business.
UK Finance Bill 2016A Bill to grant certain duties, to alter other duties, to amend the law relating to the national debt and the public revenue, and to make further provision in connection with finance.

5. Procedure

5.1 Conflict of interest
5.1.1 A conflict of interest occurs where either an organisation has a potential conflict under consumer law or where an individual’s ability to exercise judgment, or act in a role is, could be, or is seen to be impaired or otherwise influenced by his or her involvement in another role or relationship. In some circumstances, it could be reasonably considered that a conflict exists even when there is no actual conflict. In these cases, it is important to still manage these perceived conflicts in order to maintain public trust.

5.1.2 Where an organisation has a potential or perceived conflict of interest in the service offerings it provides, the directors must ensure the conflict has been risk assessed, documented and all staff are aware of the conflict and that it is transparent in all dealings with customers/clients and in any advertising materials.

5.1.3 The important things to remember are that:

  • A perception of wrongdoing, impaired judgement or undue influence can be as detrimental as any of them actually occurring;
  • If in doubt, it is better to assume a conflict of interest and manage it appropriately rather than ignore it;
  • For a conflict to exist financial gain is not necessary.
  • A conflict will arise when an individual’s or organisation’s ability to exercise judgment or act in their role in the purchasing, commissioning or selling of services is impaired or influenced by their interests in the provision of those services

5.1.4 A conflict of interest will include (but is not necessarily limited to):

  • A financial interest: This is where an individual or organisation may get direct financial benefits from the consequences of a purchasing, commissioning or selling decision (for example, as a director, a non-executive director, or a senior employee in a private company or public limited company or other organisation which is likely, or possibly seeking to do, business with other health or social care organisations and benefits as a direct result of the decision).
  • A non-financial professional interest: This is where an individual may obtain a non-financial professional benefit from the consequences of a purchasing, commissioning or selling decision, such as increasing their professional reputation or status or promoting their professional career (for example, a GP with special interests e.g., in dermatology, acupuncture etc or an advocate for a particular group of patients).
  • A non-financial personal interest: This is where an individual may benefit personally in ways which are not directly linked to their professional career and do not give rise to a direct financial benefit. This could include, for example, where the individual is suffering from a particular condition requiring individually funded treatment.
  • Indirect interest: This is where an individual has a close association with an individual who has a financial interest, a non-financial professional interest or a nonfinancial personal interest in a commissioning decision for example, a: spouse/partner/business partner.

5.1.5 We expect that all staff:

  • Put the interests of people in their care/their clients/their supply chain before their own interests, or those of any colleague, business, organisation, close family member or friend.
  • Be open and transparent with all stakeholders and declare a conflict of interest as soon as practically possible to the CFO.
  • Maintain appropriate personal and professional boundaries with the people they provide care to and with others.
  • Consider carefully where conflicts of interest may arise – or be perceived to arise – and seek advice if they are unsure how to handle this.
  • Be open about any conflict of interest they face, declaring it formally when appropriate and as early as possible, in line with the policies of Acacium Group.
  • Ensure their professional judgement is not compromised by personal, financial or commercial interests, incentives, targets or similar measures.
  • Refuse all but the most trivial gifts, favours or hospitality if accepting them could be interpreted as an attempt to gain preferential treatment or where appropriate would contravene your professional code of practice.
  • Where appropriate, ensure that patients/service users/clients/suppliers have access to visible and easy-to-understand information on any fees and charging policies for which you are responsible.

5.1.6 We have given careful consideration to the risks and in order to prevent a conflict of interest there are measures in place, to manage any risk, and to ensure we are transparent to all stakeholders and that we are fully compliant.

5.1.7 We will occasionally come across a perceived or actual conflict of interest. To effectively manage this risk, we require all employees to be open and transparent with all stakeholders. We will ensure that via annual training all employees understand the legislation and the risk of conflicts to enable them to adhere to this policy and guidance through training.

5.2 Declaring Interests
5.2.1 Organisational conflicts of interest will be thoroughly explored during the contracting stage and prior to signing the contract. This will include potential or actual conflicts arising from merger and acquisitions.

5.2.2 Any conflict identified will be approved by the group CFO and if agreement to continue is granted the conflict will be added to the corporate risk register.

5.2.3 All individuals covered by the scope of this policy are required to declare to the CFO as soon as is practically possible any relevant personal or business interests of their spouse, civil partner, cohabitee, family member or any other relationship (including friendship) which may influence or may be perceived to influence their judgement.

5.2.4 Individuals will declare any interests, in writing, as soon as they are aware of it and in any event no later than 28 days after becoming aware.

5.2.5 If the individual is unsure if there is a conflict of interest or not, they should seek advice from the CFO, Group Commercial Director or Group Clinical Director.

5.2.6 Where an individual is unable to provide a declaration in writing, for example, if a conflict becomes apparent in the course of a meeting, they will make an oral declaration at the meeting, and provide a written declaration to the CFO as soon as possible thereafter. The declaration will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

5.2.7 Even if an interest has already been declared, it should be declared at the start of any meeting where matters relating to that interest are discussed. In relation to any item on the agenda members of the meeting are reminded of the need to declare:

(i) any interests which are relevant or material to Acacium Group;
(ii) any changes in interest previously declared; or
(iii) any financial interest (direct or indirect) on any item on the agenda.

5.2.8 Any declaration of interest should be brought to the attention of the Chair in advance of the meeting or as soon as it becomes apparent in the meeting. For any interest declared the minutes of the meeting must record:

(i) the name of the individual declaring the interest;
(ii) the agenda item number to which the interest relates;
(iii) the nature of the interest and the action taken;
(iv) be declared under this section and at the top of the agenda item which it relates to

5.2.9 Individuals applying for posts at Acacium Group or seeking appointment to any of its committees and sub-committees will be required to declare any potential conflicts of interest during the appointment process. Where a question arises as to whether this may impact on the ability to appoint individuals, further guidance should be sought from the Chief Financial Officer or the Group Clinical Director

5.3 Bribery
5.3.1 Bribery is, in the conduct of the company’s business, the offering or accepting of any gift, loan, payment, reward or advantage for personal gain as an encouragement to do something which is dishonest, illegal or a breach of trust.

5.3.2 Bribery is a criminal offence. The Company prohibits any form of bribery. We require compliance from everyone connected with our business, with the highest ethical standards and anti-bribery laws applicable. Integrity and transparency are of utmost importance to us and we have a zero-tolerance attitude towards corrupt activities of any kind, whether committed by employees or by third parties acting for or on behalf of the Company.

5.4 Offences
5.4.1 It is a criminal offence to:

  • offer a bribe;
  • accept a bribe;
  • bribe a foreign official;
  • as a commercial organisation, to fail to prevent a bribe.

5.4.2 You should be aware that if you are found guilty by a court of committing bribery, you could face up to 10 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. The Company could also face prosecution and be liable to pay a fine.

5.4.3 It is prohibited, directly or indirectly, to offer, give, request or accept any bribe i.e. gift, loan, payment, reward or advantage, either in cash or any other form of inducement, to or from any person or company in order to gain commercial, contractual or regulatory advantage for the Company, or in order to gain any personal advantage for an individual or anyone connected with the individual in a way that is unethical.

5.4.4 It is also prohibited to act in the above manner in order to influence an individual in his capacity as a foreign public official. You should not make a payment to a third party on behalf of a foreign public official.

5.4.5 If you are offered a bribe or a bribe is solicited from you, you should not agree to it unless your immediate safety is in jeopardy. You should immediately contact a Director so that action can be taken if considered necessary. You may be asked to give a written account of events.

5.4.6 If you, as an employee or person working on our behalf, suspect that an act of bribery, or attempted bribery, has taken place, even if you are not personally involved, you are expected to report this to a Director or your line manager. You may be asked to give a written account of events.

5.4.7 Appropriate checks will be made before engaging with suppliers or other third parties of any kind to reduce the risk of our business partners breaching our anti-bribery rules.

5.4.8 The Company will ensure that all of its transactions, including any sponsorship or donations given to charity, are made transparently and legitimately.

5.5 Solicitations
5.5.1 A solicitation is defined as any deliberate act which is committed against any customer, supplier or other stakeholder in the business with the intent of obtaining money, gift(s), favourable terms, priority or any benefit, in return for or in relation to, any goods or services provided by the Company in the course of its business, and such actions are substantially related to a self-interest. Any employee who breaches this fundamental principle will be subject to disciplinary action which will, almost certainly, lead to summary dismissal.

5.6 Business Gifts – Giving:
5.6.1 The Company will on occasion promote its activities, products and services with branded stationary and similar items which may be given freely and openly. Such items, which will include pens, calculators, desk clocks, paper weights, document wallets etc. will normally have no greater value than £30 per item.

5.6.2 No employee is entitled or expected to offer a gift (outside of the described range and value, including “hospitality” or “entertainment”) unless the activity is a legitimate and open accompaniment to business discussions, meetings, negotiations etc (e.g. entertaining at a breakfast meeting, lunch, dinner etc) without the express permission of the Managing Director.

5.6.3 If any employee is in doubt as to whether any planned expenditure of this type needs to be declared and discussed, then they should declare it to their line manager and to their local finance director who will record any gifts in the corporate gift register.

5.7 Receiving Gifts – General
5.7.1 The receipt of gifts or substantial favours by employees from, for example, suppliers can give rise to embarrassing situations and may be seen as an improper inducement to give some concession in return to the donor.

5.7.2 Any offer of gifts or favours of unusual size or questionable purpose should be reported immediately to the employee’s Line Manager and local finance director. Any offer of a gift of cash or credit must be rejected and reported to the employee’s Line Manager and local finance director without delay.
5.7.3 No gift may be accepted unless it is nothing more than a simple calendar, diary, blotter, or other item of office equipment, generally having a nominal value of no more than £30 and then only if it bears the giving Company’s logo or insignia upon it, such that it may reasonably be described as advertising material.

5.7.4 However, employees are reminded that since gifts are given only to a limited number of people, they should be distributed to other employees where possible.

5.7.5 Where a gift is offered outside of the parameters described, and in circumstances where refusal might immediately offend, then the gift will be accepted on behalf of the Company, but then immediately declared to the receiving employee’s Line Manager and local finance director. A decision will then be taken as to the proper distribution of the gift.

5.7.6 In exceptional cases, for example when the Company decides that the gift was made as a token of the donor’s gratitude for a service carried out to a very high standard, the recipient may be allowed to retain the gift, but the gift must be registered with the local finance director.

5.8 Receiving Gifts – Christmas
5.8.1 The Company accepts that at Christmas the nature of business gifts may change to items which are more “festive”, such as wine, food hampers, etc. It is the policy of the Company that modest gifts of this nature may be accepted, on behalf of the Company, but must be declared, formally. Their distribution will be determined (but not kept by) by the Line Manager and local finance director to whom they were declared, and unless the item is of quite low value, and not capable of being “shared”, the gift will be distributed in an equitable and fair manner.

5.9 Receiving Gifts – Hospitality
5.9.1 Modest hospitality is an accepted and acceptable courtesy of a business relationship, particularly where, for example, it is no more than being entertained in a modest restaurant for lunch or dinner, for example. However the recipient should not allow a situation to arise or develop whereby he/she might be thought by others to have been influenced in making a business decision as a consequence of accepting such hospitality, and Company policy therefore requires that all invitations to attend functions, (such as sporting events, concerts etc.) as the non-paying guest of a particular supplier, organisation etc, should be declared to the employee’s Line Manager and local finance director and approval sought to attend.

5.9.2 If in the opinion of the Line Manager, and local finance director, the value/importance of the gift is such that either the Company or the individual might be unacceptably compromised it will be declined. It may also be appropriate for the Company to accept the offer of hospitality, but suggest to the offer or an alternative guest, who is equal in terms of seniority but may not have the same day-to-day dealings. In this way the benefit of such hospitality may be more beneficially dispersed, and with considerably less of a potential threat that a single relationship is, over time, being compromised.

5.10 Receiving gifts – via Third Party (e.g. PSC providers and umbrella companies)
5.10.1 The Company shall not promote or receive a benefit from a customer or third party if the object of the benefit is to induce the Company’ to encourage its clients or candidates/workers to use the service of the donor.

5.10.2 In particular, employees are forbidden to receive personal payments (including cash, vouchers or gifts) for referrals of workers to umbrella or PSC organisations who may subsequently provide services to those workers.

5.10.3 The Company cannot and does not act as a financial adviser and therefore does not actively promote any particular method of worker remuneration whether it is through a PAYE process, a personal services company or an “umbrella” company. If recommendations are made there is a risk of transfer of tax liabilities to the company, directors, or the individual who made the recommendation.

5.10.4 In all conversations with candidates, staff should give factual information regarding different methods of employment but must not advise the candidate as to which to choose. If requested by the candidate, staff are able to give the names of pre-vetted organisations but without expressing a preference. Modest hospitality is accepted and acceptable.

5.10.5 All invitations to attend hospitality events, (such as sporting events, concerts etc.) as the non-paying guest of a particular supplier, organisation etc, should be declared to the employee’s Line Manager and local finance director and approval sought to attend.

5.10.6 Because of the perceivable risk of impartiality and hence potential transfer of tax liabilities, no hospitality may be accepted from umbrella companies or PSC accounting companies. If in any doubt – ask your Line Manager and local finance director.

6 Notifications Process
6.1 In any event, all workers must receive line manager and local finance director’s approval before accepting any gifts.

6.2 The local finance directors will be responsible for maintenance of the corporate gift register will be reported to the relevant COO or functional director, and the CFO.

6.3 All gifts must be declared on the anti-bribery register which is held by finance, the notification process is through your local finance director.

6.4 All gifts must be declared on the anti-bribery register which is held by finance.

7. Money Laundering
7.1 Money Laundering is the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money by moving it through legitimate business transactions.

7.2 As Acacium Group is a recruitment company it is unlikely to be used as a vehicle for money laundering and hence is not legislated by the UK’s Anti Money Laundering Regulations.

7.3 However, if you have any cause to believe that any funds we receive or pay may involve the proceeds of crime; you have a responsibility to report this to your line manager.

8. Monitoring
8.1 This Policy will be reviewed on a regular basis, and not less than every two years.

8.2 The CEO will monitor the effectiveness of this Policy, and all declarations must be submitted for review.

8.3 When it is not easy to decide between what is and what is not acceptable in terms of gifts or hospitality, it should be declined, or advice sought from the relevant COO or functional director. Individual employees of the Company are reminded that, aside from the spirit of this Code, it is a criminal offence for a person corruptly to accept, or to attempt to obtain, any gift or inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do any act in relation to the Company’s Business.

8.4 We will uphold laws relating to bribery and will take disciplinary action against any employee, or other relevant action against persons working on our behalf or in connection with us, should we find that an act of bribery, or attempted bribery, has taken place. This action may result in your dismissal if you are an employee, or the cessation of our arrangement with you if you are self-employed, an agency worker, contractor etc.

9. Implementation Plan
9.1 For consultation, ratification and dissemination of this Policy, see the policy document CORP10 Policy on Policies for drafting, approval and review of policies, and SOPs

9.2 This Policy will be implemented through:

  • Communication of the Policy to all relevant Acacium Group workers
  • Communication of the Policy to Acacium Group stakeholders
  • Raising awareness and understanding of the Policy throughout the organisation through committee meetings, Acacium Group workers’ meetings, the ‘Acacium Group Knowledge Room’, the website and general communication
  • Anti-Bribery and Corruption training at the start of employment and an annual refresher training

9.3 Audit and monitoring: The audit and monitoring process of the effectiveness of this Policy is done through the Senior Operations Board, Chief People Officer, and the Group Clinical Director who review the Policy every four years, or more frequently if there are legislative, procedural or best practice changes.

10. Related Policies

ORG 13-2 Acacium Group Recruitment Policy
CORP03 Whistleblowing for Internal Employees Policy
CORP 04 Whistleblowing for Associate Workers and External Parties
CORP08 Corporate Responsibility Policy
CORP15 Counter Fraud Policy

11. References

  • UK Bribery Act 2010
  • United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977
  • UK Finance Bill 2016