The Chair of the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery has expressed concern that the entry into force of the new Bribery Act is to be delayed.

“It is very disappointing that despite public commitments, the UK will further delay this important Act to tackle bribery and corruption,” said Mark Pieth, Chair of the Working Group. “Establishing a level playing field for international business is as important now as ever and will help strengthen the global economic recovery.  As a G20 country, the UK bears a special global responsibility and should lead by example.” 

The Working Group completed a review of the new Act in December 2010 to determine its impact on the UK’s implementation of the OECD Anti-BriberyConvention – the full report is available here. 

The U.K. government had previously announced its intention to commence all provisions of the Act in April 2011. 

The Working Group’s review urged  the U.K. to honour this commitment. It said; “If the Act’s entry into force is delayed, more bribe payments would be governed by the current, much weaker law.” The review added the new Act would be “a major improvement on the prior patchwork of U.K. bribery laws.” 

The OECD has regularly underlined the need for countries to meet their international obligations under the terms of the Convention in the fight against corruption. Rather than putting companies at a disadvantage in their business dealings, the Convention helps create a level playing field for business. Bribing public officials to obtain advantages in international business raises serious moral and political concerns, undermines good governance and sustainable economic development, and distorts competition.