Survey Reveals that the UK Bribery Act is Ineffective for Construction

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11th October 2013 14:45 - Construction

Despite the introduction of a tough new Bribery Act in the UK in 2010, corruption is still common in the country’s construction industry, according to respondents from a survey by the Charted Institute of Building (CIOB).

Results show that three in ten (28%) of the 701 construction professionals surveyed felt that corruption was common within the UK’s construction industry. Cultural practices and economic conditions were found to be the main reasons behind this prevalence of corruption.

Among respondents, a third (35%) said they had been offered a bribery or incentive on at least one occasion, while two fifths (38%) reported coming across cartel activity in the UK construction industry on at least one occasion – of those, one in three (29%) claimed to have witnessed it over the last twelve months.

Nearly half of the respondents were unaware whether their company had a whistle-blowing policy, and only a tenth (7%) said that they had every used it.

In addition, more than half (54%) of the respondents were unable to estimate the annuals cost of fraud or corruption to their organisation – despite 45% of the sample describing themselves of senior management or director level.

Furthermore, cover pricing – the submission of artificially high tenders to favour competitors – was seen as not being corrupt by a fifth (20%) of respondents.

CIOB deputy Chief Executive, Michael Brown, said:

 “Our findings reveal that little progress has been made since our first piece of research into corruption in 2006. What we have found is that cultural practices and the consequences of the recession have placed a greater strain on companies to sometimes engage in adverse practices as a survival mechanism.”

While, Co-ordinator of the UK Anti-Corruption Forum, Graham Hand, said

“This valuable report shows that despite the introduction of a tough new Bribery Act in 2010, corruption is still common in the construction business in this country… Law enforcement agencies need to work with professional and business organisations to educate companies about their responsibilities, and they must act against companies that break the law.”

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