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Topic: Staff handbook - contractual policies and procedures

corporate hospitality policy
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Corporate hospitality policy

Corporate hospitality policy

Our corporate hospitality policy helps you monitor client entertainment given or received. The Bribery Act 2010 doesn’t ban corporate hospitality but you do need to ensure you’re properly monitoring and limiting it to what is proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances.

Proportionate and reasonable

Corporate hospitality will only amount to bribery under the Bribery Act 2010 if it can be proved that the person offering it intended the recipient to be influenced to act improperly. Genuine corporate hospitality and promotional or other similar business expenditure is not prohibited under the Act, provided that it is proportionate and reasonable given the sort of business you do. Thus, you can continue to provide tickets to sporting events and take clients etc. to dinner as a reflection of your good relations. Likewise, you can continue to attend such events where you’re invited because you’re the client etc. It all comes down to whether the hospitality is proportionate and reasonable or whether it goes too far by being lavish, excessive or extraordinary. Also, what’s reasonable for one business may not be reasonable for another, as it can depend on the size, nature and turnover of the business. In any case, where it was thought the hospitality was really a cover for bribing someone, the authorities would look at such things as the level of hospitality offered, the way in which it was provided and the level of influence the person receiving it had on the business decision in question. The more lavish the offering, the greater the inference that it’s intended to influence the granting of business or a business advantage in return.

Policy provisions

Our Corporate Hospitality Policy places sufficient financial and other controls on corporate hospitality to ensure compliance with the Act. It provides that corporate hospitality expenditure likely to be above a designated amount must be approved in advance by a director (you need to set a reasonable limit here) and that otherwise the employee’s manager must agree in advance to the level of all hospitality expenses, taking into account what is reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances. In relation to corporate hospitality received, the policy contains an obligation on the employee to report to their manager any corporate hospitality invitation they wish to accept, to include the nature of the event and the identity of the inviter. However, we’ve carved out routine corporate hospitality here, so there’s no need for your staff to report standard business lunches, after work drinks etc. If the company determines the corporate hospitality is too lavish, excessive or extraordinary, the employee must decline the invitation. However, where the company determines the hospitality is genuine, proportionate and reasonable, at the manager’s discretion, the employee may be permitted to attend, subject to agreement relating to time off where the event is taking place during working hours. You then need to take a practical, balanced view on what corporate hospitality is genuine, proportionate and reasonable and what is clearly not.

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