Anti-bribery & corruption policy
This policy is designed to clarify and provide guidance on Priority Freight’s position on preventing and prohibiting bribery, in accordance with the bribery act 2010.
It is Priority Freight’s approach that:
- We are committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in our business activities
- Our senior management is committed to implementing effective measures to prevent, monitor and eliminate bribery and to fostering a culture of integrity in which bribery is unacceptable
- We will not tolerate any form of bribery by, or of, its employees, consultants or any person or body acting on its behalf
- Our zero-tolerance approach towards bribery will ultimately deliver business benefits in terms of maintaining Priority Freight’s reputation and maintaining confidence in the company by its customers and business partners
Bribery act 2010
We are committed to complying with the Bribery Act 2010 in our business activities.
Under the bribery act 2010, a bribe is a financial or other advantage that is offered, promised or given with:
- The intention of inducing or rewarding improper performance of a relevant function or activity
- The knowledge or belief that accepting such an advantage would constitute the improper performance of a relevant function or activity
Bribery can be committed whether the advantage is offered, promised or given, directly or through a third party.
A ‘relevant function or activity’ includes public functions, business activities or any activity performed in the course of a person’s employment, or on behalf of another company or individual, where the person performing the function or activity is expected to perform it in good faith, impartially, or in accordance with a position of trust.
The function or activity may be performed anywhere in the world and does not have to have any connection with the UK.
A criminal offence will be committed under the Bribery Act 2010 if an employee or associate person:
- Offers, promises or gives a bribe
- Requests, agrees to receive or accepts a bribe
- Bribes a foreign public official
Bribery of a foreign public official is committed if someone offers, promises or gives a bribe to a foreign public official with the intention of obtaining or retaining business or a business advantage and local law does not permit or require the official to be influenced by a bribe in the performance of his/her role.
The company will also commit an offence under the bribery act 2010 if its employee or an associated person commits an act of bribery for the purpose of obtaining business or business advantage for the company and the company does not have the defence that it has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery by its employees or associated persons. Priority Freight could face an unlimited fine and damage to its reputation and takes its legal responsibilities very seriously.
What is prohibited?
Priority Freight strictly prohibits employees or associated persons from offering, promising, giving, soliciting or accepting any bribe of any kind.
This prohibition applies whether the bribe takes the form of cash, a gift or other inducement to, or from, any person or company, whether a public or government official, official of a state-controlled industry, political party or a private person or company, and regardless of whether the employee or associated person is situated in the UK or overseas.
This prohibition also applies to indirect contributions, payments or gifts made in any manner as an inducement or reward for improper performance, for example through consultants, contractors or sub-contractors, agents or sub-agents, sponsors or sub-sponsors, joint-venture partners, advisors, customers, suppliers or other third parties.
Employees and, where applicable, associated persons, are required to take particular care to ensure that all company records are accurately maintained in relation to any contracts or business activities, including financial invoices and all payment transactions with clients, suppliers and public officials.
Due diligence must be undertaken by employees and associated persons prior to entering into any contract, arrangement or relationship with a potential supplier of services, agent, consultant or representative in accordance with the Company’s procurement and risk management procedures.
Employees and associated persons are required to keep accurate, detailed and up-to-date records of all corporate hospitality, entertainment or gifts accepted or offered.
Priority Freight strictly prohibits its employees or associated persons from making or accepting any facilitation payments.
Facilitation payments are payments made to government officials for carrying out or speeding up routine procedures, and are distinct from an official, publicly available fast-track process. Facilitation payments, or offers of such payments, will constitute a criminal offence by both the individual concerned and the Company under the Bribery Act 2010.
These payments are not common in the UK, but are common in some other foreign jurisdictions in which we operate.
Corporate entertainment, gifts, hospitality and promotional expenditure
Priority Freight permits corporate entertainment, gifts, hospitality and promotional expenditure that are undertaken:
- To improve the image and reputation of the company
- To present the Company’s products and services effectively
- For the purpose of establishing or maintaining good business relationships
Hospitality and promotional expenditure, however, must be:
- Reasonable and proportionate
- Arranged in good faith
- Not offered, promised or accepted to secure an advantage for the company or any of its employees or associated persons or to influence the impartiality of the recipient
Example: offering a bribe
An employee offers a potential client tickets to a major sporting event but only if they agree to do business with us.
This would be an offence as the employee is making the offer to gain a commercial and contractual advantage. We may also be found to have committed an offence because the offer has been made to obtain business for us. It may also be an offence for the potential client to accept our offer.
Receipt of gifts and hospitality
In certain circumstances, it may not be appropriate to retain gifts or rewards or entertainment received or offered from customers, public officials, suppliers or other business contacts and employees and associated persons may be asked to return the gifts to the sender or refuse the entertainment, for example, where there could be a real or perceived conflict of interest. As a general rule, small tokens of appreciation, such as flowers or a bottle of wine, may be retained by employees.
Example: receiving a bribe
A supplier gives an employee’s nephew a job but makes it clear that in return they expect the employee to use their influence at Priority Freight to ensure we continue to do business with them.
It is an offence for a supplier to make such an offer. It would be an offence for our employee to accept the offer as they would be doing so to gain a personal advantage.
Priority Freight considers that charitable giving can form part of its wider commitment and responsibility to the community. The company may, at its discretion, support a number of charities and may also support fundraising events involving employees.
The company does not make donations to political parties.
Action by the company
Priority Freight will fully investigate any instances of alleged or suspected bribery and take action as appropriate if it finds that an act of bribery has been committed.
The company will invoke its disciplinary procedure where any employee is suspected of bribery, and proven allegations may result in a finding of gross misconduct and immediate dismissal.
The company may terminate the contracts of any associated persons, including consultants or other workers who act for, or on behalf of, the Company who are found to have breached this policy.
We may also report any matter to the relevant authorities, including the financial services authority, the director of public prosecutions, serious fraud office, revenue and customs prosecutions office and the police. We will provide all necessary assistance to the relevant authorities in any subsequent prosecution.
Priority Freight reviews all policies and procedures periodically to reflect changes in legislation, good practice etc.