This anti-bribery & anti-corruption statement sets out the responsibilities of Nearform, and of those who work with us and for us, with regard to observing and upholding a zero-tolerance position on bribery and corruption. This policy also acts as a source of information and guidance, to help people recognise and deal with bribery and corruption issues, as well as to understand their personal responsibilities.
Nearform is committed to conducting business in an ethical and honest manner; it is committed to implementing and enforcing processes that ensure bribery is prevented. Nearform has zero-tolerance for bribery and corrupt activities. We are committed to acting professionally, fairly, and with integrity in all business dealings and relationships, and in all countries in which we operate.
Nearform will constantly and consistently uphold all laws relating to anti-bribery and corruption in all the jurisdictions in which we operate. We are bound by the laws of Ireland, including The Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018, the UK, including the Bribery Act 2010, the US, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as well as other local, national and international laws.
Bribery and corruption are punishable by up to ten years of imprisonment and by punitive fines. If Nearform is discovered to have taken part in corrupt activities, we may be subjected to unlimited fines, may be excluded from tendering for public contracts, and may face serious damage to our reputation. We commit to preventing bribery and corruption in our business, and we take our legal responsibilities seriously.
Who is Covered by the Policy?
This anti-bribery policy applies to all employees (whether temporary, fixed-term, or permanent), consultants, contractors, trainees, casual workers, agency staff, volunteers, interns, agents, sponsors, or any other person or persons associated with us (including third parties), or any of our subsidiaries or their employees, no matter where in the world they are located. The policy also applies to Board, and/or Committee members at any level.
In the context of this policy, “third-party” refers to any individual or organisation our company engages with or and works with. It refers to actual and potential clients, customers, suppliers, distributors, business contacts, agents, advisers, and government and public bodies – this includes their advisors, representatives and officials, politicians, and public parties.
Definition of Bribery
Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offence which is undertaken by a person or an organisation which is entrusted with a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one's personal gain. Corruption includes Bribery but also includes other activities, such as embezzlement, fraud, extortion, nepotism, using undue influence, non-disclosure of conflicts of interest and other activities.
Bribery refers to the act of offering, giving, promising, asking, agreeing, receiving, accepting, or soliciting something of value, or of an advantage, so as to induce or influence an action or decision. A bribe refers to any inducement, reward, or object/item of value offered to another individual in order to gain commercial, contractual, regulatory, or personal advantage. Bribery is not limited to the act of offering a bribe. If an individual is on the receiving end of a bribe and they accept it, they are also breaking the law.
Bribery is illegal. Nearform personnel must not engage in any form of bribery, whether it be directly, passively (as described above), or through a third party (such as a partner or distributor). They must not bribe a foreign public official anywhere in the world. They must not accept bribes in any amount, no matter how small, and if they are uncertain about whether something is a bribe or a gift or act of hospitality, they should seek further advice from the Legal department or from their manager.
What is and what is not acceptable
This section of the policy refers to four areas:
Gifts and hospitality
Nearform accepts normal and appropriate gestures of hospitality and goodwill (whether given to/received from third parties) so long as the giving or receiving of gifts meets the following requirements:
It is not made with the intention of influencing the party to whom it is being given, to obtain or reward the retention of business or of a business advantage, or as an explicit or implicit exchange for favours or benefits.
It is not made with the suggestion that a return favour is expected.
It is in compliance with local law.
It is given in the name of the company, not in an individual’s name.
It does not include cash or a cash equivalent (e.g. a voucher or gift certificate).
It is appropriate for the circumstances (e.g. giving small gifts around Christmas or as a small thank you to a company for helping with a large project upon completion).
It is of an appropriate type and value and given at an appropriate time, taking into account the reason for the gift.
It is given/received openly, not secretly.
It is not selectively given to a key, influential person, with the intention of directly exerting influence on them.
It is not above a certain excessive value, as pre-determined by the company’s Legal and Finance teams (usually €100); and
It is not offered to, or accepted from, a government official or representative or politician or political party, without the prior approval of the company’s compliance manager.
Where it is inappropriate to decline the offer of a gift (i.e. when meeting with an individual of a certain religion/culture who may take offence), the gift may be accepted so long as it is declared to the Legal department, who will assess the circumstances. Nearform recognises that the practice of giving and receiving business gifts varies between countries, regions, cultures, and religions, so definitions of what is acceptable and not acceptable will inevitably differ for each.
As good practice, gifts given and received should always be disclosed to the Legal department. Gifts from suppliers should always be disclosed. The intention behind a gift being given/received should always be considered. If there is any uncertainty, the advice of the Legal department should be sought.
Facilitation Payments and Kickbacks
Nearform does not accept and will not make any form of facilitation payments of any nature. Facilitation payments are a form of bribery that involve facilitating or expediting the performance of a public official of a routine governmental action. Nearform does not allow kickbacks to be made or accepted. Kickbacks are illicit payments made to someone in return for facilitating a transaction or appointment.
Nearform will not make donations, whether in cash, kind, or by any other means, to support any political parties or candidates.
Nearform accepts (and indeed encourages) the act of donating to charities – whether through services, knowledge, time, or direct financial contributions (cash or otherwise) – and agrees to disclose all charitable contributions it makes.
Nearform personnel must be careful to ensure that charitable contributions are not used to facilitate and conceal acts of bribery.
Nearform will ensure that all charitable donations made are legal and ethical under local laws and practices, and that donations are not offered/made without the approval of the “Making a Difference” team.
As an employee or contractor of Nearform, you must ensure that you read, understand, and comply with the information contained within this policy, and with any training or other anti-bribery and corruption information you are given by the company.
All Nearform personnel are equally responsible for the prevention, detection, and reporting of bribery and other forms of corruption. They are required to avoid any activities that could lead to, or could appear to be, a breach of this anti-bribery policy.
If you have reason to believe or suspect that an instance of bribery or corruption has occurred or will occur in the future that breaches this policy, you must notify the General Counsel (Siofra.email@example.com).
If any employee breaches this policy, they will face disciplinary action and could face dismissal for gross misconduct. Nearform has the right to terminate a contractor’s contractual relationship if they breach this anti-bribery policy.
What Happens if I Need to Raise a Concern?
How to raise a concern
If you suspect that there is an instance of bribery or corrupt activities occurring in relation to Nearform, you are encouraged to raise your concerns at as early a stage as possible. If you’re uncertain about whether a certain action or behaviour can be considered bribery or corruption, you should speak to your line manager, any member of the SMT, or any member of the Legal, Finance or People teams.
What to do if you are a victim of bribery or corruption
You should tell your manager as soon as possible if you are offered a bribe by anyone, if you are asked to make one, if you suspect that you may be bribed or asked to make a bribe in the near future, or if you have reason to believe that you are a victim of another corrupt activity.
If you refuse to accept or offer a bribe or you report a concern relating to potential act(s) of bribery or corruption, Nearform understands that you may feel worried about potential repercussions. Nearform will support anyone who raises concerns in good faith under this policy, even if investigation finds that they were mistaken.
Nearform will ensure that no one suffers any detrimental treatment as a result of refusing to accept or offer a bribe or other corrupt activities or because they reported a concern relating to potential act(s) of bribery or corruption. “Detrimental treatment” includes dismissal, disciplinary action, or unfavourable treatment in relation to the concern the individual raised. If you have reason to believe you’ve been subjected to unjust treatment as a result of a concern or refusal to accept a bribe, please inform your line manager or any member of the Legal or People teams.
You can also refer to our ‘Whistleblower Policy’ for details on qualified disclosures, procedure to follow for disclosures etc., which is available here.
Training and communication
Nearform will provide training on this policy as part of the induction process for all new employees and contractors. Employees and contractors will also receive regular, relevant training on how to adhere to this policy, and will be asked annually to formally accept that they will comply with this policy.
Nearform’s anti-bribery and corruption policy and zero-tolerance attitude will be clearly communicated to all suppliers, contractors, business partners, and any third-parties at the outset of business relations, and as appropriate thereafter.
Nearform will keep detailed and accurate financial records, and will have appropriate internal controls in place to act as evidence for all payments made.
Monitoring and reviewing
Nearform’s Legal department is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of this policy and will review the implementation of it on a regular basis. They will assess its suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness.
Any need for improvements will be applied as soon as possible. Nearformers are encouraged to offer their feedback on this policy if they have any suggestions for how it may be improved. Feedback of this nature should be addressed to the General Counsel but you should feel free to bring suggestions to your manager or any member of the People team as well.
This policy does not form part of an employee’s contract of employment or a contractor’s contract of engagement and Nearform may amend it at any time so as to improve its effectiveness at combating bribery and corruption.