The key features of the Act are:
- a more effective legal framework to combat bribery in the public or private sectors
- replacement of the fragmented and complex offences at common law and in the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889-1916
- two general offences covering the offering, promising or giving of an advantage, and requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting of an advantage
- a discrete offence of bribery of a foreign public official
- a new offence of failure by a commercial organisation to prevent a bribe being paid for or on its behalf (it will be a defence if the organisation has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery)
Ethical Corporation offers one view as to how business should prepare so as to ensure that may have the defence, under section 7(2) of the Act, of "adequate procedures." Nevertheless, applying the government's guidance (when issued) will be crucial since the Act clearly bases the defence on this guidance.