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University Anti-Bribery Policy

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


1. Introduction
2. Scope of the Policy
3. What is Bribery?
4. Responsibilities
5. Risk Assessment
6. Gifts Entertainment and Hospitality
7. Facilitation Payments
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 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.

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

1.5 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.

2. Scope 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:

  1. Offer, promise or give a bribe;
  2. Request, agree to receive or accept a bribe;
  3. Bribe a foreign public official in order to obtain or retain business, or a business advantage;
  4. 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 kickbacks, are also classified as bribery, and are therefore illegal.

Examples of potential bribery

4. Responsibilities

4.1 Corporate and Personal Responsibilities

4.1.1 Responsibility for the implementation of this Policy lies with the Group Finance Director, acting on behalf of the University Council.

4.1.2 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 their work for the University they must comply with this Policy and in this respect are responsible for preventing, identifying and reporting bribery wherever it may occur. This includes undertaking reasonable endeavours to ensure that their actions could not give rise to the perception or appearance that misconduct may have occurred, even if this is not actually the case.

4.2 Record-Keeping

4.2.1 It is particularly important that accurate and transparent records are kept in line with University Records Retention Schedule and the Financial Regulations and Procedures on purchasing, hospitality, expenses, gifts, etc.

4.3 Due Diligence

4.3.1 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 the approval of Collaborative Courses.

Please refer to Corruption Risk Indicators - External Guidance ( for more information in support of due diligence on bribery risk.

4.4 Reporting Concerns or Incidents

4.4.1 All members of the University are encouraged to report concerns they may have of potential breach of the Anti-Bribery Policy whether on the part of other University members or third parties, as soon as possible. This includes any instances where they 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 their Head of Department/Centre/Activity in the first instance or, where this is not felt to be appropriate, to the Group Finance Director 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: Fraud and Bribery).

4.4.2 Any allegations of misconduct under this Policy within the jurisdiction of the University will be taken seriously. Should it be alleged that any member of the University has acted in contravention of this Policy or the related UK legislation, action may be taken under the University’s Disciplinary and Policy Procedure as determined by the Head of Department or nominated representative. 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.

5. Risk Assessment

5.1 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 is addressed through the University’s risk management processes. The University’s total risk portfolio is assessed through the anti-bribery risk register, which is maintained by the Finance Office and reviewed annually with risk owners. The register details specific known areas of risk and maps the policies, procedures and processes in place to manage that risk. Departments are required as part of the Financial Procedures, to assess the risk of bribery occurring in relation to their activities and to assess specific business transactions where there may be particular risk. This includes 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 also 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.

6. Gifts, Entertainment and Hospitality

6.1 Acceptance of Gifts and Donations

6.1.1 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: Philanthropic Gifts to the University. Gifts to members of staff should be dealt with in accordance with Financial Procedure 1: Conflicts of Interest.

6.1.2 These policies state that the University will not accept gifts that, in the opinion of the Fundraising Ethics Committee, are judged to be unethical or which put the reputation of the University at unacceptable risk. This includes gifts that create an unacceptable conflict of interest or expose the University to financial or legal liability. This will of course include bribery.

6.1.3 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 1, all departments must maintain a Gifts Register in which such gifts are recorded.

6.2 Acceptance of Hospitality

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

6.2.2 In accordance with Financial Procedure 1 , 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. FP1 sets out specific instances in which hospitality or entertainment should not be accepted, together with procedures for referring queries should staff be unsure as to whether they should accept an invitation.

6.3 Giving of Hospitality and Gifts

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

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

  1. 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.
  2. b) The hospitality or gifts provided should be proportionate to the circumstances and should never be excessively lavish.
  3. c) Hospitality and gifts must conform with local legislation as well as this Policy and the UK Bribery Act 2010.
  4. d) Records of expenditure on hospitality and gifts must be kept in accordance with the University’s Financial Regulations and Procedures.

7. Facilitation Payments

7.1 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 payments of this type to be made by members of the University or third parties acting on its behalf.

7.2 If a member of the University (or third party acting on its behalf) is required to make a legitimate payment to a public official on behalf of the University, a cash payment should be avoided wherever possible and a receipt detailing the reason for the payment should be requested. Where suspicions or concerns are held regarding a request for a payment, advice should be sought from the Head of Department/Centre/Activity or the Finance Office.

7.3 If, however, a member of the University (or third party acting on its behalf) is forced under duress to make such a payment or their personal safety is threatened, the instance should be reported to the Head of Department/Centre/Activity as soon as possible after the event. The Head of Department/Centre/Activity should in turn contact the Finance Office via the anti-bribery resource account -, and make a record of the payment in the departmental Register of Interests file (See Financial Procedure 1: Conflicts of Interest).

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 Policy will therefore be subject to regular review, as overseen by the Policy Oversight Group and informed by University risk management and audit process outcomes.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

An Equality Impact Assessment Screening has been carried out. As no equality and diversity issues were identified, a full Equality Impact Assessment is not required.

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

Version 1 - Policy transferred to new format and revisions made to several sections approved on 10 June 2021 by the Policy Oversight Group