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University Anti-Bribery Policy

Link to the Anti-Bribery Essentials E-learning Module (Moodle)


1. Introduction to the Bribery Act 2010
2. Application of the Policy
3. What is Bribery?
4. Risk Assessment
5. Gifts Entertainment and Hospitality
6. Facilitation Payments
7. Responsibilities
7.1 Corporate and Personal Responsibilities
7.2 Record-Keeping
7.3 Due Diligence
7.4 Reporting Incidents or Concerns
8. Monitoring and Review


1. Introduction

1.1 The University of Warwick requires all individuals acting on its behalf to conduct business honestly, fairly and professionally. The University is committed to the prevention of bribery and does not tolerate bribery, corruption, fraud or dishonesty in any of its activities.

1.2 The University is committed to abide by all legislation relevant to the prevention of bribery and corruption in all nation states in which it operates, and is bound by the UK Bribery Act 2010 in respect of its conduct both in the UK and overseas.

1.3 Any allegation that a member of the University has acted in a manner that is illegal or inconsistent with this Policy will be treated seriously and will be investigated following the procedures set out in Financial Procedure 3: Fraud and Bribery. The University reserves the right to terminate its contractual arrangements with any third party providing services for or on behalf of the University where there is reasonable evidence that they/their staff have committed an act of bribery.

1.4 All members of the University and third parties must abide by the University’s policies across the range of its activities and ensure transparency and openness in their dealings on its behalf.

1.5 Third parties will be bound by any contractual obligations relating to Anti-bribery, as set out in contracts and agreements.

1.6 Staff and students of the University should read this Policy in conjunction with the University’s:

a) Financial Regulations and Procedures, particularly but not exclusively:

b) Policy on the Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts (Fundraising Ethics Committee and Financial Procedure 9)

c) Whistleblowing Policy

d) Disciplinary Procedures

2. Application of the Policy

2.1 The Policy applies to all individuals acting on behalf of the University. It will therefore apply to all staff of the University and all those third parties acting on its behalf, including (but not exclusively) agents, consultants, contractors, suppliers, subsidiaries and joint venture partners, wherever they may be located. The Policy will also apply to students when they are acting on behalf of the University, either in a paid or voluntary role.

3. What is Bribery?

3.1 Bribery is defined under the UK Bribery Act 2010 as giving someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly or to reward that person for having already done so, in order to gain an advantage, whether personal or commercial. Specifically the Act makes it an offence to:

a) Offer, promise or give a bribe;

b) Request, agree to receive or accept a bribe;

c) Bribe a foreign public official in order to obtain or retain business, or a business advantage;

d) Fail to prevent bribery on behalf of an organisation (corporate liability)

3.2 Small payments to officials to facilitate routine Government business, known as facilitation payments or kick-backs, are also classified as bribery, and are therefore illegal.


Case 1

You are establishing a new collaborative course with a partner organisation overseas. The course you wish to run needs to be officially recognised within the relevant state and you are asked to pay a cash fee to a public official to ensure that recognition is given in time for recruitment to commence.

If the fee you are asked to pay is a legal requirement then it is acceptable to make the payment but only in accordance with the University’s Financial Regulations and Procedures. If the payment is not a legal requirement it is defined as bribery.

Case 2

You take a prospective donor to dinner but infer that you expect a donation to be made in return.

While it is not illegal to provide hospitality it should be clear that there is no obligation on the part of those to whom it is offered that any advantage is expected as a result.

Case 3

A parent of an applicant who is also a potential donor to your Department contacts you and indicates that they may be willing to make a donation to the University were their child to be accepted onto their chosen course of study or, if their child is already studying at the University, if their child’s grades are enhanced or a requirement for their child to withdraw from the University is reversed.

Either case would be classified as bribery by the parent as it would lead to an advantage to the University and, therefore, would need to be handled by University Staff with care. Standard admissions, examination and assessment policies must be followed through all stages of the student applications process and the Policy on the Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts must be followed in the case of donations made.  

4. Risk Assessment

4.1 It is important that an assessment is undertaken of the risks of bribery occurring, or of the perception arising that bribery may have occurred. This enables areas of specific vulnerability to be identified and mitigating actions to be put in place which are proportionate and prioritised, recognising that risks will vary from sector to sector, and depend on the location of the activity. The risk of bribery occurring should therefore be addressed through the University’s risk management processes. It is important that this is done at all levels, and departments are required to assess the risks in relation to their activities. In addition, departments are asked to assess specific business transactions where there may be particular risks, for instance, where third parties are acting on behalf of the University or where departments are dealing with individuals or organisations located in areas where corruption is relatively prevalent. Departmental assessment of the risk of bribery must form an element of the due diligence undertaken when consideration is being given to entering into a business or academic partnership, acknowledging that such due diligence should be proportionate. The University’s risk management processes will also, therefore, assess the total risk portfolio as reported through departmental assessment mechanisms.

Link to further information on corruption risk indicators.

5. Gifts, Entertainment and Hospitality

5.1 Acceptance of Gifts and Donations

5.1.1 The University’s Policy on gift and donation acceptance is set out in the Policy on the Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts and associated procedures are provided in Financial Procedure 9: Gifts received by the University. Gifts to members of staff should also be dealt with in accordance with Financial Procedure 1: Conflict of Interest Policies and Procedures.

5.1.2 These policies state that the University will not accept gifts which would require the University to undertake any action in contravention to national or EC regulation or which would, in the opinion of the Fundraising Ethics Committee, create an unacceptable conflict of interest or exposes the University to financial or legal liability. This will of course include bribery.

5.1.3 It is recognised that in the course of their work staff may be offered gifts from time to time, and this may be the norm in many parts of the world. However, Financial Procedures clearly indicate that staff should not accept any gifts or rewards (or have them given to members of their family) from any organisation or individual with whom they have contact in the course of their work that would cause them to reach a position whereby they might be, or might be deemed by others to have been, influenced in making a business decision as a consequence of accepting such a gift. If a member of staff receives a gift unexpectedly or is offered a gift and is unsure whether they should accept, given that refusal may cause offence, they should inform their Head of Department/Centre/Activity who may consult with the Registrar and/or the Group Finance Director. As set out in Financial Procedure 9, all departments must maintain a Gifts Register in which such gifts are recorded.

5.2 Acceptance of Hospitality

5.2.1 The University policy and procedures on acceptance of hospitality are set out in Financial Procedure 1: Conflict of Interest Policy and Procedures, which should be read in conjunction with this Policy.

5.2.2 Financial Procedure 1 indicates that staff may attend events organised by other bodies for promotional or business purposes but any hospitality which exceeds the norm or raises a potential conflict of interest should be avoided. Specific instances in which hospitality or entertainment should not be accepted are also given, together with procedures for referring queries should staff be unsure as to whether they should accept an invitation.

5.3 Giving of Hospitality and Gifts

5.3.1 The University’s existing policies and procedures on business entertainment are set out in Financial Procedure 16: Travel, Subsistence, Gifts and Hospitality.

5.3.2 In addition to the measures set out in the Financial Procedures, the following requirements must be met:

a) Hospitality and gifts must not be given with the intention of influencing a third party to obtain or retain business or in order to gain a business advantage, rewarding a third party for any form of business advantage, or in exchange for benefits or favours, or to facilitate a routine business procedure. The objective in offering hospitality should be only the development of business relations.

b) The hospitality or gifts provided should be proportionate to the circumstances and should never be excessively lavish.

c) Hospitality and gifts must conform with local legislation as well as this Policy and the UK Bribery Act 2010.

d) Records of expenditure on hospitality and gifts must be kept in accordance with the University’s Financial Regulations and Procedures.

6. Facilitation Payments

6.1 As defined in Section 3.2, facilitation payments are payments (sometimes small) made to expedite or speed up routine government actions but which are not a legal requirement. It is common in many areas of the world to progress business in this way, but the Bribery Act is clear that this type of payment is illegal under UK legislation if it is made by a UK-based organisation. The University does not permit, therefore, payments of this type to be made by members of the University or third parties acting on its behalf.

6.2 If, however, you are forced under duress to make such a payment or your personal safety is threatened, seek advice as soon as possible after the event from your Head of Department/Centre/Activity or the Registrar's Office and make a record of the payment in your departmental Register of Interests file (See Financial Procedure 1: Conflicts of Interest Policy and Procedures).

6.3 If you are required to make a legitimate payment to a public official on behalf of the University you must avoid making the payment in cash wherever possible and ask for a receipt detailing the reason for the payment. Ensure payments are reported in line with University Financial Regulations but, if you have any suspicions or concerns regarding a request for a payment, report it to your Head of Department/Centre/Activity or to the Registrar’s Office.

7. Responsibilities

7.1 Corporate and Personal Responsibilities

7.1.1 Responsibility for the implementation of this Policy lies with the Secretary to Council, acting on behalf of the University Council.

7.1.2 All members of the University and third parties acting on behalf of the University are responsible for ensuring that their behaviour at work is professional, honest and fair. In your work for the University you must comply with this Policy. In this respect you are responsible for preventing, identifying and reporting bribery wherever it may occur. This includes undertaking reasonable endeavours to ensure that your actions could not give rise to the perception or appearance that misconduct may have occurred, even if this is not actually the case.

7.2 Record-Keeping

7.2.1 It is particularly important that accurate and transparent records are kept in line with University policies and its Financial Regulations and Procedures on purchasing, hospitality, expenses, gifts, etc.

7.3 Due Diligence

7.3.1 In considering whether to recommend a particular supplier / collaborative partner to the University, staff and individuals acting on behalf of the University are reminded of the requirement to evidence that they have undertaken a process of due diligence as set out in the University’s Financial Regulations and as also set out in the arrangements for Collaborative Courses described in the Course Approval form.

Link to further information on corruption risk indicators.

7.4 Reporting Concerns or Incidents

7.4.1 All members of the University are encouraged to report concerns they may have of potential breach of the Anti-Bribery Policy as soon as possible, whether on the part of other University members or third parties. This includes any instances where you may be the victim of attempted bribery. In turn, the University is committed to ensuring that its members have a safe and confidential way of reporting suspected wrongdoing. Concerns may therefore be raised directly with your Head of Department/Centre/Activity in the first instance or, where this is not felt to be appropriate, to the Registrar or their nominee. The University’s Whistleblowing Policy also permits staff and anyone contractually associated with the University to raise concerns of serious malpractice in the University. Heads of Department/Centre/Activity or their representative must report any suspected instances of fraud, including bribery, undertaken by members of the University to the Head of Internal Audit and/or the Group Finance Director (in line with Financial Procedure 3).

7.4.2 Any allegations of misconduct under this Policy within the jurisdiction the University will be taken seriously. Should any member of the University be found to have acted in contravention of this Policy or the related UK legislation, action may be taken under the University’s Disciplinary Procedures as determined by the Vice-Chancellor. Attempted bribery or acceptance of a bribe may be considered an act of gross misconduct and, where it is considered that a criminal offence has occurred, the police may be informed.

8. Monitoring and Review

8.1 The University is committed to reviewing on an ongoing basis the effectiveness of its policies and procedures in relation to anti-bribery measures. The application of the Policy will therefore be subject to regular review through the University’s risk management and audit processes.

Approved 18 December 2017 by the Steering Committee

Minor revision to section 7.1.1 approved on 20 June 2019 on behalf of the Steering Committee and the University Executive Board