Christmas gifts and the Bribery Act

When you’re on the lookout for Christmas gifts to give to valued clients to that them for their custom over the last twelve months, few of us stop and consider the fact that we might be breaking any laws by presenting customers or suppliers with a nice bottle of fizz at the festive season.

And for the most part us giving a nice thank you gift at Christmas won’t land you in hot water legally, but it’s a wise move to revisit the anti-bribery laws that exist in the UK to make sure that your gifting efforts aren’t seen by the law as an improper attempt to sway a customer or business to give you an unfair advantage.

Let me explain…

Giving gifts will constitute bribery where the intention of the gift is to induce or reward impropriety. So, if you’re just giving them a gift as a thank you then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

However, the situation can be a little tricky if the customer, client or supplier has requested a particular gift in return for an advantage for future business.

It’s the intention here that the bribery act is most concerned with and it seeks to discourage anyone giving a gift as to induce an improper outcome.

Many large businesses have anti-bribery processes and gifting procedures in place to stop key decision makers being influenced by the generosity of individuals and other companies to sway things in their favour.

With this in mind, it might be a good idea to check with any clients or suppliers that they are happy to receive gifts at Christmas and ensure that whatever you choose to give them isn’t over the top or likely to raise any eyebrows.

Another idea is to treat all clients and suppliers equally in terms of gifts and to keep a note of who has received what. That way should you ever encounter any queries on your Christmas gifting then you’ll be able to prove that anything sent out to a client was fair and done with honourable intentions .

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