THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: When does corporate hospitality become bribery?

Last week the Law Commission proposed a tightening of bribery and corruption laws

Last week the Law Commission proposed a tightening of bribery and

corruption laws

Michael Burrell

Westminster Strategy

’Taking someone to lunch would not constitute a bribe, but it’s right

that in our system MPs have to declare any substantial gifts. Parliament

should look carefully at the Law Commission’s proposals. Politicians in

particular ought to be very careful about what they are seen to be

doing, appearance is very important and they should err on the side of


Kevin Perlmutter

Toyota Motor Europe

’Would the logical conclusion be the end of the business lunch? Social

rapport is a key part of any business relationship and this dimension

needs to be given the opportunity to develop away from the confines of

the business environment. Anyone entering the world of corporate

hopsitality, either as provider or recipient, should do so with their

eyes wide open.’

Carol Grant

Local Government Association

’Local government is already more highly regulated on hospitality than

central Government or the private sector. Councillors are personally

responsible for all decisions on hospitality. Examples of abuse,

although well publicised, are rare in number but as councils become

major partners with the private sector, they need to be able to do

business on the same terms.’

Chris Hill ACE Corporate Events Management

’Some companies spend money on entertaining just to keep up with their

competitors. The more people bring corporate hospitality in line with

company or marketing objectives, the less risk they’ll be called to

court for having overstepped the mark. There has to be a business

meaning written into the event and clients have to be aware of why

they’ve been invited.’

Stephen Silber QC

Law Commission

’In the private sector, if your employer consents to your receiving

corporate hospitality then it will not be an offence. If your employer

did not consent, it would only be corrupt if the giver thought that you

would act in their favour primarily as a result of the hospitality. The

jury would have to decide what they thought the motivation for the

hospitality was, and in most cases it would be difficult to show a

decision was taken mainly because of hospitality.’

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