Anti-bribery & Corruption Policy

About this policy

AA Thornton values its reputation and commitment to maintaining the highest level of ethical standards in the conduct of its business affairs. The actions and conduct of the firm’s staff as well as others acting on the firm’s behalf are key to maintaining these standards.

The document sets out AA Thornton’s policy in relation to bribery and corruption.

This policy has been adopted by the partners of AA Thornton and has been communicated to everyone involved in the firm’s business to ensure their commitment to it. The Partners attach the utmost importance to this policy and will apply a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to acts of bribery and corruption by any of the firm’s employees or by anyone working on the firm’s behalf.

The policy sets out what is and is not acceptable in general terms, but if you are in any doubt as to whether any conduct could amount to bribery, please raise the matter with Ian Gill who is the responsible partner for the firm’s Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy.

Who needs to comply with this policy

The policy applies strictly to all employees, partners, agents, consultants, contractors and to any other people or bodies associated with the firm. You must read and abide by the terms of this policy. You must provide written confirmation that you will comply with this policy on request.

Penalties for non compliance

The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011. Under that Act, bribery by individuals is punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. If the firm is found to have taken part in the bribery or is found to lack adequate procedures to prevent bribery, it too could also face an unlimited fine.

Understanding bribery and corruption

Acts of bribery or corruption are designed to influence an individual in the performance of their duty and incline them to act in a way that a reasonable person would consider to be dishonest in the circumstances.

Bribery can be defined as offering, promising or giving a financial (or other) advantage to another person with the intention of inducing or rewarding that person to act or for having acted in a way which a reasonable person would consider improper in the circumstances. Corruption is any form of abuse of entrusted power for private gain and may include, but is not limited to, bribery.

Bribes are not always a matter of handing over cash. Gifts, hospitality and entertainment can be bribes if they are intended to influence a decision.

AA Thornton’s policy

The firm prohibits the offering, giving, solicitation or the acceptance of any bribe or corrupt inducement, whether in cash or in any other form:

  • to or from any person or company wherever located, whether a public official or public body, or a private person or company;
  • by any individual employee, partner, agent, consultant, contractor or other person or body acting on the firm’s behalf;
  • in order to gain any commercial, contractual, or regulatory advantage for the firm in any way which is unethical or to gain any personal advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, for the individual or anyone connected with the individual.

This policy is not intended to prohibit the following practices provided they are appropriate, proportionate and are properly recorded:

  • normal hospitality, provided that it complies with the firm’s entertainment policy;
  • fast tracking a process which is available to all on the payment of an official fee; and/or
  • providing resources to assist a person or body to make a decision more efficiently, provided that it is for this purpose only.

It may not always be a simple matter to determine whether a possible course of action is appropriate. If you are in any doubt as to whether a possible act might be in breach of this policy or the law, the matter should be referred to the partner responsible for this policy.

The firm will investigate thoroughly any actual or suspected breach of this policy, or the spirit of this policy. Employees found to be in breach of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action which may ultimately result in their dismissal. Agents, consultants, contractors and to any other people or bodies associated with the firm may also be subject to penalty which may also ultimately result our refusal to work with them.

Key risk areas

Examples of high risk areas for bribery and corruption are outlined below:

  • Excessive gifts, entertainment and hospitality: can be used to exert improper influence on decision makers. Gifts, entertainment and hospitality are acceptable provided they fall within the firm’s entertainment policy.
  • Facilitation payments: are used by businesses or individuals to secure or expedite the performance of a routine or necessary action to which the payer has an entitlement as of right. The firm will not tolerate or excuse such payments being made.
  • Reciprocal agreements: or any other form of ‘quid pro quo’ are never acceptable unless they are legitimate business arrangements which are properly documented and approved by the partners. Improper payments to obtain new business, retain existing business or secure any improper advantage should never be accepted or made.
  • Actions by third parties for which the firm may be held responsible: can include a range of people i.e. agents, contractors and consultants, acting on the firm’s behalf. Any payments to third parties should be properly authorised and recorded.
  • Record keeping: can be exploited to conceal bribes or corrupt practices. The firm has controls in place so that our records are accurate and transparent.

Responsibility and how to raise a concern

Individuals who work for AA Thornton, or agents, consultants, contractors and to any other people or bodies associated with the firm all have a responsibility to help detect, prevent and report instances not only of bribery, but also of any other suspicious activity or wrongdoing. AA Thornton is absolutely committed to ensuring that all of us have a safe, reliable, and confidential way of reporting any suspicious activity.

If you have a concern regarding a suspected instance of bribery or corruption, please speak up – your information and assistance can only help. The sooner you act, the better for you and for the firm. To help, the partners have created multiple channels to allow you to do this.

If you are concerned that a corrupt act of some kind is being considered or carried out – you must report the issue/concern to Ian Gill who is the partner responsible for this policy. In the event that an incident of bribery, corruption, or wrongdoing is reported, the partner will act as soon as possible to evaluate the situation.