Compliance with anti-bribery laws challenges organisations to put appropriate mechanisms in place to guard against the risk of engaging in bribery. With anti-bribery laws in 46 jurisdictions, governments are taking a more aggressive approach to enforcement for such offences.
ISO 37001:2016 anti-bribery management system
ISO 37001:2016 specifies the requirements and provides guidance for an anti-bribery management system (ABMS) for organisations of any size, type and location. The Standard gives organisations the opportunity to put in place a culture of integrity, transparency and compliance, led by committed top management and board members. For these organisations, putting in place an ABMS will significantly simplify the process of compliance.
ISO 37001 covers international best practice to help transform legislation into practical policies, processes and procedures. It is designed to help organisations in any jurisdiction put the correct anti-bribery practices in place and ensure that they are being implemented adequately.
Implementing ISO 37001:2016
The scope of implementing an ISO 37001:2016 ABMS requires organisations to consider:
- The external and internal issues;
- The stakeholders relevant to the ABMS;
- The requirements of the stakeholder; and,
- The results of a risk assessment.
Appropriate mechanisms have been devised in ISO 37001 to guard the organisation and its staff from engaging in bribery if implemented effectively. Engaging in bribery does not have to be premeditated and the person responsible may be unaware that their actions constitute bribery (or acceptance of bribery), which is why it is important to create and maintain staff awareness. Complying with ISO 37001 requires organisations to have effective procedures in place, which detail how to deal appropriately with, and respond to, the offer of a bribe and policies in place to ensure a bribe is not offered.
ISO 37001 specifies a number of anti-bribery policies and procedures that an organisation should implement to assist in the prevention of bribery, and identify and deal with any bribery that does occur. It can assist in promoting and maintaining a compliance approach from top management down, and establishes an anti-bribery compliance function appropriate to the size of the organisation and the corruption risks it faces.
What does ISO 37001 mean in terms of corporate policy?
An ABMS provides a framework for top management and other leadership elements to decide upon risk-based objectives. In essence – as with all management systems – leadership sets the tone. An ABMS shows that an organisation is serious about legal compliance and is doing all it reasonably can to prevent itself becoming involved in corrupt practices. This is an ongoing journey of commitment and process evolution.
An ABMS also mitigates reputational risk. In essence, the greater the organisation’s public profile, the more it needs to avoid being associated with anything that might be seen as questionable by the law and, perhaps, most importantly, by its customers and other stakeholders.