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Bribery Act ineffective, says survey

Moves to tackle corruption in the construction industry - including the introduction of the Bribery Act - appear to have been ineffective so far, if the results of a survey by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) are anything to go by.

This shows that 49% of the 700 construction professionals surveyed believe corruption to be routine within the UK construction industry – a drop of only 2% from 2006, when the survey was last carried out.

According to Michael Brown, CIOB Deputy Chief Executive, this means that little progress has been made.

“If the UK is going to live up to its rhetoric of being tough on corruption, both the Government and industry must do more to show proof of progress,” he said. “What we have found is that cultural practices and the consequences of the recession have placed a greater strain on companies to sometimes engage in adverse practices as a survival mechanism.”

Interesting findings include:

  • around 35% of those surveyed have been offered a bribe or incentive at least once;
  • 38% have encountered cartel activity in the industry, with 29% encountering it in the last year;
  • 20% did not think that cover pricing was corrupt;
  • 35% thought that “the pre-qualification and tendering phase is the most susceptible to corruption”;
  • 54%, many of whom held senior management roles, could not estimate the annual cost of corruption to their business;
  • 10% believed that their businesses were losing £1 million or more annually to corruption;
  • 50% thought the industry was not doing enough to tackle the problem; and
  • 54% thought that the Government should do more.

The estimated cost of corruption in the EU amounts to EUR 120 billion per year, while the world-wide cost is about US $2.6 trillion, says CIOB.

Contact Jonathan Fisher QC

For specialist advice on issues of corporate, regulatory or financial crime, contact Jonathan Fisher QC on +44 (0)20 7427 463 or click here to make an electronic enquiry.

Presentation to the Academy of European Law
Anti-corruption and the National Crime Agency
The views expressed in this article represent those of the author and not Bright Line Law.

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