Anti-bribery and corruption policy
This anti-bribery policy exists to set out the responsibilities of The Open University Psychological Society (OUPS) and those who work for us in regards to observing and upholding our zero-tolerance position on bribery and corruption.
The Bribery Act 2010 is arguably the toughest anti-bribery regime in the world. The Act imposes criminal liability on individuals and organisations in the event that employees, subsidiaries, agents or consultants pay or accept bribes in relation to the organisation's business anywhere in the world. The OU Executive Committee are fully committed to ensuring that the OUPS operates as an ethical organisation. Bribery or corruption in any form will not be tolerated. We expect our employees, stakeholders, members and business partners to conduct business in a fair, honest and ethical manner at all times.
OUPS prohibits the offering, the giving, the solicitation or the acceptance of any bribe, whether cash or other inducement. to or from any person or company, wherever they are situated and whether they are a public official or body or private person or company by any individual employee, agent, member or other person or body acting on our behalf in order to gain any commercial, contractual or regulatory advantage for OUPS in a way which is unethical or in order to gain any personal advantage, financial or otherwise, for the individual or anyone connected with the individual.
The purpose of this policy is to establish controls to ensure compliance with all applicable anti-bribery regulations, and to ensure our business is conducted in a socially responsible manner. It also exists to act as a source of information and guidance for those working for OUPS. It helps them recognise and deal with bribery and corruption issues, as well as understand their responsibilities.
2. Policy statement
Bribery is the offering, promising, giving, accepting or soliciting of an advantage as an inducement for action which is illegal or a breach of trust. A bribe is an inducement or reward offered, promised or provided in order to gain any commercial, contractual, regulatory or personal advantage.
It is our policy to conduct all of our business in an honest and ethical manner. We take a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption. We are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships wherever we operate, implementing, and enforcing effective systems to counter bribery. We will uphold all laws relevant to countering bribery and corruption including the Bribery Act 2010, in respect of our conduct wherever we operate. Bribery and corruption are punishable for individuals by up to ten years' imprisonment and a fine. If we are found to have taken part in corruption, OUPS could face an unlimited fine and face damage to our reputation. We therefore take our legal responsibilities very seriously.
In this policy, third party means any individual or organisation that those working for OUPS meet during the course of their work for us, and includes actual and potential clients, customers, suppliers, distributors, business contacts, agents, advisers, and government and public bodies, including their advisors, representatives and officials, politicians and political parties. All arrangements with third parties should be subject to clear contractual terms, including specific provisions requiring them to comply with minimum standards and procedures in relation to bribery and corruption.
This policy applies to all OUPS representatives. These include employees (whether permanent, fixed-term or temporary), consultants, contractors, trainees, seconded staff, home workers, casual workers and agency staff, volunteers, interns, agents, sponsors, or any other person associated with us, or any of our subsidiaries or their employees, wherever located. It also includes Officers, Trustees, Committee members and Members (any membership level). All of these are collectively referred to as 'OUPS representatives' in this policy.
This policy covers:
- Gifts and hospitality;
- Political contributions;
- Charitable contributions
This policy is not meant to prohibit the following practices providing they are customary in a particular market, are proportionate and are properly declared and recorded:
- Normal and appropriate hospitality
- The giving of a ceremonial gift on a festival or at another special time
- Use of any recognised fast-track process which is available to all on payment of a fee
- The offer of resources to assist a person or body to make a decision more efficiently, provided that they are supplied for that purpose only.
OUPS representatives must not engage in any form of bribery, either directly or through any third party (such as an agent or distributor). Specifically, they must not bribe a foreign public official anywhere in the world.
3.2 Gifts and hospitality
Normal and appropriate gestures of hospitality and goodwill (whether given to/received from third parties) are acceptable so long as the giving or receiving of gifts meets the following requirements:
- It is not made with the intention of influencing the party to whom it is being given, to obtain or reward the retention of a business or a business advantage, or as an explicit or implicit exchange for favours or benefits.
- It is not made with the suggestion that a return favour is expected.
- It is in compliance with local law.
- It is given in the name of the charity, not in an individual’s name.
- It does not include cash or a cash equivalent (e.g. a voucher or gift certificate).
- It is appropriate for the circumstances (e.g. giving small gifts around Christmas or as a small thank you to a supplier of services for helping with a large project upon completion).
- It is of an appropriate type and value and given at an appropriate time, taking into account the reason for the gift.
- It is given/received openly, not secretly.
- It is not selectively given to a key, influential person, clearly with the intention of directly influencing them.
- It is not above a certain excessive value, as pre-determined by the company’s compliance manager (usually in excess of £50).
- It is not offered to, or accepted from, a government official or representative or politician or political party, without the prior approval of the Executive Committee.
The intention behind a gift being given/received should always be considered. If there is any uncertainty, the advice of the Executive Committee should be sought.
3.5 Political contributions
We do not make donations, whether in cash or kind, in support of any political parties or candidates, as this can be perceived as an attempt to gain an improper business advantage.
3.6 Charitable contributions
Charitable support and donations are acceptable (and indeed are encouraged), whether of in-kind services, knowledge, time, or direct financial contributions. However, OUPS representatives must be careful to ensure that charitable contributions are not used as a scheme to conceal bribery. We only make charitable donations that are legal and ethical under local laws and practices. No donation on behalf of the organisation must be offered or made without the approval of the Trustee Board.
All expenses claims relating to hospitality, gifts or expenses incurred to third parties must be submitted in accordance with our expenses policy.
5. How to raise a concern
You are encouraged to raise concerns about any issue or suspicion of malpractice at the earliest possible stage. If you are unsure whether a particular act constitutes bribery or corruption, or if you have any other queries or concerns, these should be raised with the Executive Committee.
Inevitably, decisions as to what is acceptable may not always be easy. If at any time you are in doubt as to whether a potential act constitutes bribery, the matter should be referred to the OUPS Executive Committee. The prevention, detection and reporting of bribery is the responsibility of each individual working on behalf of OUPS.
In the event of any bribery activity being suspected, the Executive Committee will carry out a full investigation and if any bribery activity is discovered, may:
- in relation to employees or members of any OUPS committee, invoke its disciplinary procedures, which could result in a finding of gross misconduct and immediate dismissal, or
- in relation to members, result in OUPS membership being withdrawn permanently.
If you have any concerns or queries in relation to this statement or your obligations, please make these known to the OUPS Executive Committee for advice.
6. What to do if you are a victim of bribery or corruption
It is important that you inform the Executive Committee as soon as possible if you are offered a bribe by a third party, are asked to make one, suspect that this may happen in the future, or believe that you are a victim of another form of unlawful activity.
OUPS operates a zero-tolerance approach to any attempts at bribery by, or of, its employees and associated persons and encourages all such individuals to report any suspected bribery activity to the OUPS Executive Committee. OUPS representatives who refuse to accept or offer a bribe, or those who raise concerns or report another's wrongdoing, may be worried about possible repercussions. We aim to encourage openness and will support anyone who raises genuine concerns in good faith under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken.
8. Training and communication
Training on this policy forms part of the induction process for all new employees, volunteers, Members and Trustees. All existing OUPS representatives receive regular, relevant training on how to adhere to this policy. Our zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption must be communicated to all suppliers, contractors and business partners at the outset of our business relationship with them and as appropriate thereafter.
9. Who is responsible for this policy?
The Executive Committee has overall responsibility for ensuring this policy complies with our legal and ethical obligations, and that all those representing OUPS comply with it. This responsibility includes monitoring the operation and effectiveness of our antibribery arrangements as well as day-to-day responsibility for implementing this policy and for dealing with any queries on its interpretation.