Integrity Policy

Statement of Peter Charles Limited's Policy

Peter Charles Limited ("PCL")'s policy is to conduct all our business in an honest and ethical manner. We are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships and require that all the individuals, firms and companies that we do business with conduct themselves in a similar fashion.

PCL takes a zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption whether within PCL or by our consultants, Associates and any other representatives.

PCL are bound by, and uphold, all laws applicable to our business activities. PCL will maintain such procedures as are consistent with its business and our assessment of the risks that business presents to prevent bribery as required under the Bribery Act 2010. This policy is supported and driven by Peter Charles the founder and director of PCL.

Purpose of this Policy and Procedure

Whilst we consider that the standards of behaviour set out in the policy above are clearly evidenced in the culture of PCL this document allows us to reinforce the existing culture with this clear statement. We also wish to offer all concerned a clear statement of our and their respective responsibilities on these issues and to provide some additional guidance and training.

What are bribery and corruption?

Corruption is the misuse of office or power for private gain. A bribe is broadly defined as anything which is or would be a financial or other advantage to a person to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities (whether related to work or business or public office or functions) improperly or to reward that person for having already done so. Bribery offences are the act of offering or giving a bribe or on the other hand seeking or accepting a bribe.

Where might the risks of bribery arise for PCL?

PCL could be at risk from any inappropriate behaviour by any of: Peter Charles; other staff of PCL; Associates providing services to PCL; consultants who work with PCL; whether regularly or occasionally; individuals or companies who introduce business to PCL; advisors or others authorized to act for PCL; and even the clients of PCL.

The legal position on bribery

Bribery and corruption are criminal offences in the UK and other countries where PCL and or its clients and Associates and or consultants do business. As a UK based business PCL is now subject to the Bribery Act 2010 in relation to these issues. Under the Act, it is a criminal offence:

  • to pay or offer to pay a bribe;
  • to solicit a bribe;
  • to receive or agree to receive a bribe;
  • to bribe a foreign public official;
  • for a commercial organisation, to fail to have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.

It does not matter whether the bribery occurs in the UK or abroad. A corrupt act committed abroad may well result in a prosecution in the UK. Nor does it matter whether the act is done directly or indirectly. This short fact sheet about the Bribery Act 2010 explains how this Act has changed the law in this area.

Risks of not acting with integrity

Involvement, or even the suspicion or perception of such involvement in bribery or corruption carries with it severe business and personal risks including:

  • Loss of control of the business
  • Loss of insurance cover
  • Loss of professional credentials for the business and or individuals
  • Up to 10 years' imprisonment
  • Unlimited fines
  • Irreparable reputational damage
  • Loss of the business

What to look out for.

Below are some common indicators which often indicate the presence or possibility of some form or bribery or other corruption and a note of the relevant policies and procedures which should apply. Where behaviour or a request does not meet the existing PCL policy or procedure you must notify Peter Charles and seek his guidance before proceeding or responding.

Indicator of risk Relevant PCL policies/ procedures to prevent/ identify such risks
Payment for abnormal amounts (e.g. commission), or made in an unusual way, e.g. a large payment in cash or what would normally be a single payment made in stages, through a bank account never previously used, or in a currency or via a country which has no connection with the transaction PCL makes payments only to suppliers or consultants or Associates against written contracts and or appropriate invoices. Before accepting instructions from a client PCL undertakes Anti Money Laundering checks. Invoices to clients will be made out to the named client set up following the Anti- Money Laundering checks.
Process is bypassed for approval or sign-off of terms or submission of tender documents, payments, or other commercial matters; those whose job it is to monitor commercial processes may be prevented from or hindered in doing so PCL is happy to adhere to the normal tendering processes required by its clients, which vary according to size and sector. Similarly PCL appreciates that its clients have internal accounting and payment protocols and expects them to be complied with. Within PCL payment approval is via Jill Charles.
Individuals are secretive about certain matters or relationships and/or insist on dealing with them personally. They may make trips at short notice without explanation, or have a more lavish lifestyle than expected;

PCL encourages openness and transparency and requests that you report any concerns that you may have as it may in fact be an indicator of other issues such as illness or loss of personal financial stability, which again could be risks for the business or client.
Decisions are taken for which there is no clear rationale

Always raise such concerns with Peter Charles

Records are incomplete or missing PCL requires records of its dealings with clients and third parties and in the case of Associates for them to be able to provide records of their dealings with clients on PCL's behalf.
Facilitation payments: This might be where a request was made by an official, for an extra payment to "ease" the way in relation to perhaps the application for a licence or a registration which PCL or its client requires, or for the delivery of goods for which payment has already been made. Facilitation payments are common in many countries, particularly those where public officials are poorly paid.

PCL does not pay anything other than an official fee for an official service or the agreed price for a commercial service. PCL will make payments only against invoices.

Third parties: On occasion PCL uses external parties, particularly Consultants and Associates to help us achieve our business objectives. That use is important, and in some cases essential, to PCL. It does involve a certain level of risk.

Accordingly those consultants and Associates are subject to comprehensive checks and due diligence procedures before they are engaged by us. Consequently all Consultants and Associates are sent this Integrity Policy and Procedure and required to confirm their agreement to it

Political contributions: Bribes have been suggested and or made by way of contributions to political parties favoured by those seeking the bribe. PCL does not contribute to political parties and no person acting on behalf of PCL is authorized to do so or to offer to do so.
Charitable donations: Bribes may even be disguised as charitable donations.

PCL may occasionally make charitable donations, but it is a board decision and no Associate, consultant or other person acting for PCL is authorized to make such a donation on behalf of or with funds from PCL.

Gifts and Hospitality: are open to criticism and may amount to bribery or corruption in some cases.

Please see below

Gifts and Hospitality

Giving and receiving hospitality is not prohibited within PCL but the following guidance applies in addition to the written agreements between PCL and each employee, Associate, consultant or supplier:

Hospitality to clients:

This is generally arranged by Peter Charles, so Associates are not expected to offer substantial hospitality to clients. Obviously, it would be rude in some situations not to buy the client a coffee or snack when working on site or away from the client site in company with a member of the client's team.

Hospitality to potential clients.

Again this is only to be offered by PCL or on its behalf with the prior approval of Peter Charles and in any event such hospitality will be modest in nature and value.

Business Introductions

Where another individual or business introduces clients or potential clients to PCL, PCL requires that that business introduction has not been supported or connected in any way with gifts of any kind or significant hospitality offered to the client or potential client. Where any third party is engaged by PCL in this regard PCL has formal arrangements which require that the supplier agrees to this Integrity Policy. It is not acceptable for us (or anyone on our behalf) to give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality with the expectation or hope that a business advantage will be received, or to reward a business advantage already given.

Local circumstances

Whilst PCL understands that different parts of the world have different social and cultural customs, PCL operates this policy in all its dealings and does not make exceptions when dealing overseas.

Risk assessment

Risk in our business varies over time and with changes in the business. Peter Charles working with Huntley Legal will conduct regular risk assessment of the risks to the overall business in order to ensure that the policies and procedures of PCL remain current and adequate. Peter Charles, working with you and whoever he considers appropriate, is responsible for assessing the level of risk to which any activity is subject and for putting in place any measures additional to those outlined in this policy as he considers are required.

Monitoring

Everyone in or working for or with PCL must observe this policy. Peter Charles will monitor it regularly to make sure it is being adhered to.

Responsibilities

Everyone working for PCL, including all consultants, Associates and contractors is responsible:

  • for reading and knowing the contents of this policy;
  • for reporting cases where they know, or have a reasonable suspicion, that bribery has occurred or is likely to occur.

What to do if you think something is wrong

Everyone has a responsibility to speak out if we discover anything corrupt or otherwise improper occurring in relation to our business. We cannot maintain our integrity unless we do that. If you discover or suspect bribery or corruption has taken place or may be a possibility (whether within PCL, by a consultant, Associate or contractor or other third party who represents us; by one of our suppliers or competitors; even a client of PCL) please report it in confidence to Peter Charles (07973193855 or peter@petercharles.com) or Marie Huntley (07951056621 or mhuntley@huntleylegal.co.uk ) immediately.

September 2011.