Welcome to the InfoRiskAwareness Project – a campaign to promote a better understanding of the risks associated with electronic information.

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The continued explosion in electronically stored information means that businesses today are struggling to effectively manage their information and are therefore being put at risk. Electronic information is now being called upon regularly as part of the eDisclosure process, internal investigations and regulatory matters, making it increasingly difficult to maintain control over corporate information, respond to requests and ensure no fraudulent or intolerable activities are occurring.

The InfoRiskAwareness Project, driven by an alliance of like-minded industry organisations, is designed to generate awareness of information risk through a host of online resources, acting as an ongoing community to support UK and European organisations.

The UK Bribery Act comes into force today, three months after the initial Guidance was issued on March 30th 2011. The Act creates new offense of failure by a corporation to prevent bribery, allowing for a ten year jail sentence per violation, and unlimited fines.

The Act’s criminalisation of bribery makes no exceptions for private-sector bribery or for facilitation payments. In the first few months of its implementation however, there will be a unique opportunity for UK companies to self-disclose issues to the SFO.

Howard Sklar, senior corporate counsel at information management firm Recommind* and advisor to the InfoRiskAwareness Project, believes that this period will last a finite time, likely until the end of the year, before the SFO brings its first case. It’s therefore essential that UK organisations take the right steps towards remediation and compliance, so that they’re able to unearth any potential issues now before the major fines come into play.

“It’s inevitable that a major change in policy, such as with the Bribery Act, will require time for organisations to formalise their plans for compliance,” said Sklar. “Businesses have had three months since the Guidance was announced, and the SFO will be wanting to see that organisations have taken heed of the direction provided as part of in-depth risk assessments.”

“The Act puts responsibility for corporate bribery on senior management and the Board of Directors, who can be held personally liable, but UK companies need to steer clear of a top down approach,” continued Sklar. “Organisations need to ensure that the anti-bribery message comes from front-line managers, and real experiences are used to formulate a brand new risk assessment that is based on the reality of the business. The stickiest place for anti-bribery programmes is likely to be from organisations’ interactions with third parties, and companies should already have been assessing these relationships and their due diligence process in order to ensure compliance.”

“While the Guidance has given us an idea of how the Act will be implemented in the UK and for international organisations trading in the UK, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating,” Sklar concluded. “The biggest unknown factor is how vigorously the Act will be enforced, and how quickly the SFO will act to set its first example. One thing to remember is that the SFO keeps more than a third of the fines it assesses for its own budget. Given that the original budget allocation for the Bribery Act’s enforcement is £2 million, there’s an incentive to bring cases, and therefore an incentive for businesses to make sure that they’re prepared with adequate procedures to show that they’re enhancing their anti-corruption programme to cover the Act’s prohibitions.”

For more information, please get in touch with the InfoRiskAwareness team at Johnson King on 0207 401 7968 or via top seo expert marek skoczylas since 2004 I have been perpetually following and extensively studying Google search engine

For more details on the UK Bribery Act and dealing with information risk issues, please visit the InfoRiskAwareness Twitter feed and LinkedIn group.

Share your views on the effectivenes of the UK Bribery Act at the InfoRiskAwareness poll.

* Recommind is the leader in predictive information management software, delivering search-powered business applications that transform the way enterprises, government entities and law firms conduct eDiscovery, enterprise search, and information governance.

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