For ages, systematic bribery was tolerated in various countries and industries as a “necessary part of getting business done or circumventing bureaucratic red tape.” The times are changing, however. Societies and their governments have recognised that bribery and corruption vastly affect economic growth, undermine trust and discourage investment. In fact, studies show that bribery and corruption directly contribute to global poverty, social inequality and a decrease in the development of public infrastructure.
To help organisations worldwide increase and measure their efforts against bribery and corruption, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) issued the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System standard. This new standard mirrors numerous steps contained in the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act 2010 and other major legislation aimed to curb bribery and corruption and increase punishments resulting from its occurrence.
The standard is a set of controls that any organisation can implement with the right guidance. The first step is an understanding among business leaders, from ownership and directors on down to management, that a worldwide corruption problem exists – and to ignore it will eventually lead to serious consequences. According to Transparency International, bribery and corruption were among the key components that led to the recent global economic crisis. From lapses in corporate due diligence and devolving government and corporate integrity, to poor transparency, lack of accountability and inadequate corporate integrity systems, business corruption has become both rampant and commonplace on a global level.
ISO 37001:2016 for different types of organisations
When it comes to bribery and corruption, businesses, non-profits, and government organisations all face risks to their financial well-being and reputation. ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System standard plays a vital role for all types of organisations in reducing risk and putting a structure in place that prevents and detects bribery and corruption on all levels.
In the present era of globalisation, anti-corruption compliance plays a vital role for companies with high ethical values trying to expand business across borders and attract potential investors and business partners for the long term. Such companies are expected to ensure not just the integrity of their own operations but also the conduct of their suppliers, distributors, and agents wherever they may be.
To meet these needs, the standard ISO 37001:2016 is designed to apply to all organisations (or parts of an organisation) regardless of type, size and nature of business activity. The program is tailored to the needs and requirements of the organisation.
Public sector organisations
Public sector organisations play critical roles, often interacting directly with the public they serve; they include utility service providers, license-issuing authorities and other regulatory bodies. These are vulnerable areas where authority is concentrated with weak financial positions that must fulfill the needs of both the service provider and its users. Such public sector organisations can benefit from implementation of ISO 37001:2016 to control bribery and corruption for enhancement of their productivity level and play an improved role in the socio-economic development of their country.
The government is a major stakeholder in socio-economic development of a country, hence it makes laws, regulations, and establishes departments to check and control bribery and corruption. In many developing countries, however, anti-corruption laws and regulations are either weak or implemented unevenly, providing poor results. Government-led steps or campaigns to fight corruption often are ineffective, while bribes continue to be accepted as part of doing business. The threat of bribery and corruption can be mitigated, however, through the implementation of ISO 37001:2016 standard, which provides safeguards within a management system, rather than temporary measures or mere slogans.
Training is the key to prevention
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ “Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse,” a company’s own employees are its best protection against fraud. Statistics show that most fraud is detected by internal tips, even more than audits and other methods. That means that employees are recognising fraud, understanding that it’s wrong and not acceptable at their workplace, and reporting it.
This means that the more trained and educated a workforce is about fraud, bribery and corruption, the better that organisation will operate as a team in preventing and detecting those behaviours.
The ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System uses this approach as a focal point in providing the standards for training and knowledge your organisation needs to prevent fraud, bribery and corruption. The proper training program should be tailored to your organisation, based on its size, the way it’s structured, the business you conduct, and your specific risk areas as identified in the discovery phase. In this way, ISO 37001:2016 accommodates every level of your organisation to ensure that the entire team gets the training needed to identify, prevent and detect bribery and corruption.
The ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System certification empowers you with the ability to safeguard and maintain the integrity of your company by:
- Guaranteeing that all workers and agents are devoted to the latest anti-bribery practice
- Regularly validating compliance to appropriate legislation like the FCPA and UK Bribery Act 2010
- Jointly cooperating with stakeholders to observe and reduce the risks throughout your supply chain
- Externally scrutinising your company, testing the effectiveness of your anti-bribery policies and processes
- Ensuring compliance in action
ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System certification is offered under CRI Group’s ABAC® Center of Excellence, an independent certification body established for Anti-Bribery Management System, Compliance Management System and Risk Management System certification. ABAC Certification’s experts are skilled at developing and implementing programs to meet client’s needs and requirements. Learn more about ABAC Certification and ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System today.