The Fraud and Bribery Prevention Policy sets down the Architects Registration Board’s (ARB) approach to preventing, detecting and reporting fraud and bribery within ARB.
The Board is committed to minimising ARB’s exposure to fraud, corruption and bribery. Fraud and bribery are crimes, and the organisation is committed to eradicating the risk of fraud and bribery. As a public corporation, ARB is accountable for the proper use of its funds and resources. This policy will assist in raising awareness both to the risk of fraud and bribery and the means of preventing it, as well as identifying existing procedures for reducing the likelihood of such events occurring.
It is the Board’s responsibility to establish the approach that ARB takes to prevent fraud and bribery.
The Registrar, Senior Leadership Group (SLG) and staff all have personal responsibility for delivering and understanding the policy and the controls and tools which sit beneath it. The Registrar and SLG are responsible for the overall management of those controls.
The Fraud & Bribery Prevention Policy is included in both the Staff Handbook and the Board Members’ Handbook. It is also available on ARB’s website under the Publication Scheme.
The Fraud Act 2006
Under the 2006 Act, any individual who dishonestly makes a false representation to make a gain for himself or another, or dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which they are under a legal duty to disclose, or commits fraud by an abuse of position, may be found guilty of the offence of fraud.
Bribery Act 2010
The Bribery Act 2010 creates four offences:
- offering, promising or giving a bribe;
- requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting a bribe;
- bribing a foreign official to retain business; and
- the failure of an organisation to prevent a bribe being paid on its behalf.A function or activity to which a bribe relates includes any function of a public nature and any activity connected with a business. Organisations are therefore expected to ensure that appropriate procedures are in place for bribery prevention.
ARB’s Fraud and Bribery Prevention Policy
ARB has zero tolerance to fraud and bribery. Whilst we do not anticipate that fraud or bribery will occur within ARB, any suspected cases of fraud or bribery will be investigated and pursued, with the maximum penalties being sought through criminal/civil and employer disciplinary actions. We have already demonstrated this rigorous approach through the prosecution of an applicant for registration who provided fraudulent documents. We will continue that approach to deliver our statutory objectives and safeguard the validity of the Register and ARB’s assets.
The Six Principles which ARB will apply
Under the Bribery Act 2010, six principles have been identified to help inform an organisation in establishing procedures to prevent bribery. ARB believes that these principles can also apply to fraud. The six principles are outlined below, together with the procedures which sit under them to prevent fraud and bribery.
ARB’s procedures are proportionate to the risks faced by the organisation,and reflect the fact that one of the key areas of risk within the Bribery Act 2010 relates to those who conduct business in foreign markets. In view of ARB’s limited exposure outside the UK, the procedures primarily reflect the need to mitigate domestic bribery.
Principle 1: Proportionate Procedures
ARB’s approach to fraud and bribery and the measures in place to prevent fraud and bribery are embedded in our procedures. Attachment A lists the procedures and policies in place which include these measures.
The procedures cover many different areas of ARB’s business. They also cover ARB’s staff, Board members and advisers, as well as third parties who may work with ARB.
Although they are different issues, fraud and bribery are combined within the policy because the tools used for mitigating them are often the same. Dedicated procedures for preventing fraud and bribery have not therefore been introduced, as this would be disproportionate to the risks placed and have less impact than including these elements within existing overarching procedures and policies.
Principle 2: Top Level Commitment
The Board has adopted ARB’s fraud and bribery prevention policy,which was developed by ARB’s senior management team, the SLG. Board members and staff receive training on this topic.
Principle 3: Risk Assessment
Fraud and bribery are considered as part of the standard review of risk. ARB has a risk strategy in place, which is reviewed and agreed by the Board each year. One of the key tools for managing risk is the Risk Register. This document is reviewed monthly by the SLG, and is a live and working document subject to regular change. Risk is also discussed at team and staff meetings. ARB’s internal audit work plan has included a risk assurance exercise to test the controls in place under the Register.
The SLG considers the areas in which ARB is exposed to risk of fraud and bribery at its monthly team meetings. The nature of ARB’s work means that risks are not significant; however, the areas identified are scrutinised, and controls and procedures considered.
Principle 4: Due Diligence
The nature of ARB’s procurement of goods and services makes it unlikely that there is much exposure to fraud. ARB’s services are not outsourced, and our internal procedures are the defence against fraud and bribery. Service providers will have a clause within their contract confirming the Board’s policy on fraud and bribery. The procurement of goods issubject to the Scheme of Delegated Decision making and to the controls in the Finance Manual.
Principle 5: Communication (including training)
Staff and Board members receive training on the six principles, ARB’s intolerance to any fraud or bribery, and their own personal responsibilities.
Principle 6: Monitoring and Review
ARB will remain constantly alert to opportunities for improving its procedures to minimise the risk of fraud and bribery. Regular reviews of existing procedures will take place every two years, and the responsibility for ensuring that policies are updated in line with good practice will be given to a member of the SLG.
Fraud and Bribery Prevention
ARB has a number of control mechanisms in place,which have been updated as a result of the Fraud Act 2006 and the Bribery Act 2010 and which assist in preventing and detecting fraud and bribery. A resume of these controls is shown below.
- Financial management control
- Financial reporting
- Audit Committee and internal audit function
- Whistleblowing Policy
- Contracts for service providers
- Contracts of employment
- Fraud and Bribery Risk Assessment This includes:
- a review of areas within ARB that are vulnerable to fraud and bribery;
- identifying the controls in place; and
- considering the residual risk relating to the area The findings of the assessment are reported to SLG
- Expenses Claim Policy and procedures for both staff and Board members
- Policy on accepting gifts and hospitality and maintaining a gifts and hospitality Register for both staff and Board
- Codes of Conduct for both staff and Board members
- Training for both staff and Board members
- Escalation Plan in the Staff Handbook if suspected fraud or bribery is identified