Anti-fraud, bribery, and corruption policy
Stewardship Services (UKET) Limited (stewardship) has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards fraud, bribery, and corruption. It will always seek to take disciplinary and/or legal action against those found to have perpetrated fraud (para &7).
- Policy Statement
- Risk and internal control systems
- Reporting - internal
- Reporting – external
- Approval of losses
- Specific risk mitigation measures
- Approval and review
- Further Guidance on fraud
- Further Guidance on bribery
- Further Guidance on facilitation payments
Stewardship will assess the risks of fraud, bribery, and corruption established processes and controls to minimise these risks, and regularly review the effectiveness of its control systems. (paras 10 & 14)
Stewardship requires all staff to immediately reporting incidents of suspicious suspicions of fraud, bribery, or corruption to appropriate manager or another person as per the Whistleblowing policy. Stewardship will not penalise anyone for raising a concern in good faith. (para 15, 16 and 18)
Stewardship will take all reports of fraud, bribery and corruption seriously, and investigate proportionately and appropriately. (para 20)
Stewardship requires all those receiving Stewardship funds or representing the Stewardship including its suppliers, grant recipients, partners contractors and agents, to act in accordance with this policy. This includes reporting to the Stewardship any suspect of actual instances of fraud, bribery or corruption involving situations assets of staff. (paras 6 and 17)
- Stewardship complies with applicable legislation, including the Fraud Act 2006, the Bribery Act 2010, and with other regulatory requirements. Its trustees are required under charity law to safeguard the assets of the charity.
- Stewardship is committed to conducting business fairly, openly and honestly and in accordance with the highest ethical and legal standards.
- The purpose of this policy is to set out the Stewardship stance on fraud, bribery and corruption and its approach to preventing, detecting, reporting, and investigating fraud, bribery and corruption.
- This policy is applicable to, and must be followed by, all staff including consultants and contractors. Failure to comply could result in disciplinary action, including dismissal.
- Stewardship requires all those receiving Stewardship funds or representing Stewardship, including its suppliers, grant recipients, partners, contractors and agents, to act in accordance with this policy.
Stewardship has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards fraud, bribery, and corruption. This means that Stewardship:
does not accept any level of fraud, bribery or corruption within the organisation or by any other individual or organisation receiving Stewardship funds or representing Stewardship; and
will always seek to take disciplinary and/or legal action against those found to have perpetrated, be involved in, or assisted with fraudulent or other improper activities in any of its operations.
- Stewardship is committed to developing an anti-fraud culture and keeping the opportunities for fraud, bribery and corruption to the absolute minimum.
- Stewardship requires all staff to act honestly and with integrity at all times and to safeguard the resources for which they are responsible.
- Stewardship will seek to assess the nature and extent of its exposure to the risks of internal and external fraud, bribery and corruption. It will regularly review these risks, using information on actual or suspected instances of fraud, bribery and corruption to inform its review.
- Stewardship will seek to put in place efficient and effective systems, procedures and internal controls to: encourage an anti-fraud culture; prevent and detect fraud, bribery and corruption; and reduce the risks to an acceptable level.
- Stewardship will seek to equip its staff with the skills, knowledge and expertise to manage its fraud risk effectively. It will provide adequate training to make staff aware of the risks of fraud, bribery and corruption, and of their responsibilities in preventing, detecting and reporting it.
- Stewardship will make all those receiving Stewardship funds or representing Stewardship, including its suppliers, grant recipients, partners, contractors and agents aware of this policy.
- Stewardship will work with relevant stakeholders, including comparable organisations, relevant regulators and government organizations to tackle fraud.
- Stewardship will regularly review and evaluate the effectiveness of its systems, procedures and internal controls for managing the risk of fraud. It will do this through risk management and assurance processes and audit arrangements.
- All staff must immediately report any suspected or actual instances of fraud, bribery or corruption. This includes offers to pay bribes, solicitation of bribes and demands to make facilitation payments. Failure to report could result in disciplinary action.
- Reports should be made to an appropriate manager or to the Compliance Team. If staff are not comfortable reporting their concerns to these people, the Whistleblower Policy sets out who else staff can report to.
- Stewardship also requires all those receiving Stewardship funds or representing Stewardship, including its suppliers, grant recipients, partners, contractors and agents, to report to any suspected or actual instances of fraud, bribery or corruption involving Stewardship assets or staff. Reports should be made to the Compliance Team via [email protected].
- Stewardship will not penalise anyone for raising a concern in good faith, even if it turns out to be unfounded. Any member of staff who harasses or victimises someone for raising a concern in good faith will themselves be subject to disciplinary action.
- Stewardship will maintain a system for recording: all reports of actual or suspected fraud, bribery and corruption; the action taken; and the outcome of any investigation. It will use this information to inform its review of the risks and the effectiveness of its controls.
- Stewardship will fully meet its obligations to report fraud, bribery and corruption to third parties. The Fraud Response Plan sets out: the parties that suspected or actual fraud, bribery or corruption must be reported to; the nature and timing of the disclosure required; and who is responsible for making the report.
- Stewardship will take all reports of actual or suspected fraud, bribery and corruption seriously, and investigate proportionately and appropriately as set out in this policy and the Fraud Response Plan.
- The Fraud Response Plan sets out responsibilities for investigating fraud, bribery and corruption, the procedures for investigating, action to be taken and external reporting.
- Stewardship will always seek to take disciplinary and/or legal action against those found to have perpetrated or assisted with fraudulent or other improper activities in any of its operations. For staff, this may include dismissal. It will also seek to recover any assets lost through fraud.
- All losses as the result of fraud must be reported to the Compliance Team by completing and submitting an “issue form”, the Leadership team will approve any fraud loss and will report to the Trustees and Charity Commission accordingly.
- To manage the exposure to bribery and corruption, all gifts and hospitality received by staff and given to Public Officials must be approved in line with the delegated authorities and recorded on the Gifts and Hospitality Register.
- Conflicts of interest are known to increase the risk of fraud. Therefore, all staff who have an interest in an actual or potential supplier (whether personally, or through family members, close friends or associates) must report that conflict of interest to their manager, as in the Conflicts of Interest Policy.
- The Compliance, Assurance & Risk Manager is the owner of Stewardship’s counter fraud work and the counter fraud champion.
- The Compliance Team is responsible for recording all instances of actual or suspected fraud, bribery and corruption, ensuring that they are investigated proportionately and appropriately, and reported to external parties. They are also responsible for providing advice and training to staff on preventing, detecting and investigating fraud. This includes investigating cases where specialist input is required due to the complex nature of the case. They are responsible for ensuring the Leadership Team and Trustees are made aware of fraud cases as they arise.
- All staff are responsible for complying with this policy.
- Fraud is knowingly making an untrue or misleading representation with the intention of making a gain for oneself or another or causing a loss, or risk of loss, to another.
- Bribery is giving or offering someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly, or to reward someone for having already done so.
- A facilitation payment is a type of bribe. An example is an unofficial payment or other advantage given to a public official to undertake or speed up the performance of their normal duties.
- Corruption is the misuse of entrusted power for personal gain. This would include dishonest or fraudulent behavior by those in positions of power, such as managers or government officials. It would include offering, giving and receiving bribes to influence the actions of someone in a position of power or influence, and the diversion of funds for private gain.
- A conflict of interest is where an individual has private interests that may or actually do influence the decisions that they make as an employee or representative of an organisation.
This policy is to be approved by Trustees and reviewed every two years
Related policies and procedures
- Whistleblowing Policy
- Staff Handbook
- Gifts and hospitality policy
Last reviewed November 2022
Summary of legislation
The relevant legislation in the UK is The Fraud Act 2006.
The Fraud Act 2006 defines a general offence of fraud and sets out three ways by which fraud can be committed:
- fraud by false representation. A representation is false if it is untrue or misleading, and the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.
- fraud by failing to disclose information.
- fraud by abuse of position. This applies to those occupying a position in which they are expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person.
In each case, the offence is to act dishonestly with the intention of making a gain for oneself or another or causing a loss, or risk of loss, to another. The criminal act is the attempt to deceive and attempted fraud is therefore treated as seriously as accomplished fraud.
Examples of fraud relevant to Stewardship:
- Staff colluding with suppliers and ordering and paying for goods or services that are not required and / or have not been delivered or are charged at an excessive rate.
- Staff or third parties creating false invoices, receipts, purchase orders or supplier identities in order to obtain payment for goods and services that have not been supplied.
- Staff awarding a contract, or preferential terms, to a supplier in return for payments, personal discounts, commission or other benefits; or awarding a contract to a relative or other connected party.
Fraudulently altering documents or records:
- Grant recipients not spending grant funds on purposes intended, or keeping funds for personal use, and falsifying records to support false claims.
- Staff issuing false receipts to customers in order to keep the funds paid for personal use.
- Staff or third parties altering vendor payment details to divert supplier payments to own bank account.
- Staff fraudulently altering accounting records.
- Staff claiming expenses or allowances to which they are not entitled, including by falsifying receipts.
- Staff using business card for personal expenses.
- Staff using Stewardship assets, such as mobile phones, for their own personal use.
- Staff or contractors falsifying travel and subsistence or other expense claims.
Fraud involving impersonation:
- Staff or third parties impersonating Stewardship in order to extract fees for a service which the Council does not provide or does not charge for.
- Staff or third parties submitting false applications from real or fictional individuals or organisation for grants.
- Staff creating non-existent employees for directing payments.
- Staff or temporary staff making false or inflated claims for overtime or flexible working.
Summary of legislation
The relevant legislation in the UK is The Bribery Act 2010.
The Act makes it an offence to give or receive a bribe, i.e., to:
- Offer, promise or give a financial or other advantage to another person with the intention of inducing them to perform their functions improperly, or to reward them for having done so.
- Request, agree to receive or accept a financial or other advantage as the reward for an improper function or activity.
It also makes it an offence to bribe a foreign public official. A foreign public official is someone elected or appointed to a legislative, administrative or judicial position in an overseas government or other public agency or organisation. It is an offence to offer such a person a financial or other advantage with the intention of influencing them in the performance of their official duties.
The Act also creates a corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery. This means that Stewardship could be liable if someone offers a bribe on its behalf, including employees and third parties carrying out Stewardship business, such as partners and suppliers. The Act applies to UK organisations operating overseas, so Stewardship could be prosecuted if any of its staff worldwide offer or solicit a bribe; this is why the policy applies globally.
Examples of bribes relevant to Stewardship:
Advantages that could be offered as part of a bribe:
- Cash, vouchers or other cash equivalents, or a “fee”.
- Hospitality or entertainment (outside what would be modest and reasonable in the business context).
- Stewardship paying travel and accommodation costs to a third party where this is not standard business practice (e.g., not expenses for staff).
- Stewardship staff receiving travel or accommodation free of charge from a supplier
- Favourable business terms.
- Discount of services, or providing services free of charge (or ‘uninvoiced’)
- Provision of information that offers a business or personal advantage.
Offering or receiving one of the above advantages could count as a bribe if any of the following was offered or given in return:
- Award of contract to particular bidder.
- Performance of normal duties by a foreign public official.
- Altering exam paper or marks.
- Obtaining information that would put an individual or Stewardship at an advantage, such as the content of exam papers, or information about a competitive tender.
- Any other preferential treatment influenced by the receipt of an advantage.
The following would not usually count as bribes:
- Payment of an official charge, such as a visa
- Normal hospitality provided in the course of business, such as provision or acceptance of a modest meal at a working event.
Whether a provision of a particular item or service counts as a bribe depends upon the context and level of hospitality (etc) offered. The Bribery Act is not intended to prohibit reasonable and proportionate hospitality or business expenditure. Genuine hospitality or similar business expenditure that is reasonable and proportionate, in line with normal Stewardship policy and practice. Judgement is required and the decision depends upon level of hospitality provided and the level of influence the person receiving it had on the business decision in question
A facilitation payment is making a payment or offering an advantage to a public official to undertake or speed up the performance of their normal duties. Facilitation payments are a form of bribe and are illegal under The Bribery Act 2010.
Examples of facilitation payments relevant to Stewardship:
- Making a payment to clear items through customs. These are not acceptable and must not be made.
- Offering a government minister exceptional hospitality (i.e., beyond a modest meal) whilst trying to win a contract.
- Making a ‘non-official’ payment to police to guard a building or provide security services.
- Stewardship staff being offered free meals or accommodation (outside what would be modest and reasonable in the business context) in an effort to obtain favourable treatment.
- Making a payment to pass through border controls.
The Bribery Act recognises that there are circumstances in which individuals are left with no alternative but to make payments in order to protect against loss of life, limb or liberty, and the common law defence of duress is likely to be available.
This might apply in particular to being asked to make a payment to pass through border controls. In these circumstances, staff should follow these steps:
- If asked for a payment, refuse. If the official insists, ask them where the requirement for a fee is displayed, and also ask for a receipt.
- If they continue to insist, without being able to provide evidence that the fee is legitimate, ask for a supervisor and inform them that you would be prosecuted if you make this payment.
- The Bribery Act recognises that there are circumstances in which individuals are left with no alternative but to make payments in order to protect against loss of life, limb or liberty, and the common law defence of duress is likely to be available. If you feel that refusing to pay puts you at risk of loss of life, limb or liberty make the payment and report it to as soon as possible to your manager and the Compliance Team. They will decide whether this should be reported to authorities. The fact that you have made it difficult for the official to obtain a bribe may deter them from asking others.