• Governance I Risk I Compliance Management

Celebrating Six Years of ISO 37001

Fun fact, three in four British company directors have uncovered bribery or corruption in their organisations, despite efforts across the world to stamp out the practice, says a report in thetimes.co.uk

Six years ago, the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) published the new standard ISO 37001 to counter bribery and corruption. This is a certification that ensures compliance with anti-bribery anti-corruption controls. The standard covers bribery and corruption in public, private and not-for-profit sectors, including bribery by and against an organisation or its staff and bribes paid or received through or by a third party.

ISO 37001 came into existence on October 14, 2016, and helps establish, implement, maintain, review and improve an Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS). It can be easily integrated into other existing management systems such as quality, environmental and safety.

As ABAC® navigated the last six years with ISO 37001, it has been a truly memorable journey for us, helping clients implement the standard while sharing their experiences and challenges with bribery and corruption. While we proudly celebrate the 6th anniversary of ISO 37001, we must not forget that while the costs of compliance are clear, the costs and consequences of non-compliance are not. A great way forward through the ills of bribery and corruption will continue to remain compliance with ISO 37001.

What does it take to implement ISO 37001?

Implementing the ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management System requires strong leadership and input from top management. The programme must be communicated to all staff, contractors, suppliers, and Joint Venture partners. This helps to reduce the risk of bribery occurring and can demonstrate to all interested parties that you have put in place internationally recognised good-practice anti-bribery controls. It can also provide evidence in the event of a criminal investigation that you have taken reasonable steps to prevent bribery.

Here are a few things that we need to bear in mind though when it comes to implementation:

  • Can ISO 37001 certification ensure the elimination of bribery and corruption?

    Not immediately. But is this standard starting to bring about a greater awareness of the problem and a small but steady reduction in the problem? Well, you could say yes to that! While organisations and entities the world over will continue to bribe their way to contracts or licences, the problem is particularly severe in Asia and Latin America. If the standard must become a force to reckon with, organisations that are certified must take ownership and truly believe and practice the letter and spirit of ISO 37001. As more and more organisations sincerely adopt and implement ISO 37001, we all will continue to raise the bar for cleaner business systems. This would gradually propel everyone towards an anti-bribery culture.

  • How soon can you get ISO 37001 implemented?

    Compliance is never a quick-fix solution or one that can be instantly implemented. The process of putting a robust compliance program in place involves money as also the time it takes to go through detailed reviews, monitoring and audit exercises by the regulators. Be prepared for this and make time and space for your regulators.

  • How do I choose the right certification body for me?

    Check if the certification body ticks the following boxes for you:

  1. Is the body accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) or another national accreditation body?
  2. Are they globally recognised? This will help you if you want to look at exports, tie-ups with overseas partners or setting up offices abroad.
  3. Do they have industry experience? Ask them for information on their clients and check if you can get a recommendation from any of these clients.
  4. Are they easy to communicate with? Would you be able to quickly get hold of the right person in their organisation if you want some urgent answers to a problem?
  5. Does your assessor assigned to you have adequate experience?
  6. Are they able to give you a reasonable cost for their services that is easy to understand? You should not end up paying more than you bargained for.

How do I know I need ISO Certification?

No matter where your organisation conducts business around the world, the possibility of fines, imprisonment, or worse (such as in China) should motivate every business leader to enact compliance measures and stay within the letter of the law when it comes to bribery and compliance.

ISO 37001 Anti-bribery Management Systems standard outlines the fundamental elements needed to establish anti-bribery anti-corruption compliance. Engage ABAC® Certification’s expert ISO 37001:2016 training and certification in order to prevent and detect bribery and corruption and remain in compliance.

Visit the ISO 37001 Certification page and learn more about how your organisation can benefit from ABAC’s ISO Certification today. Find out more about ABAC®!