This section looks at bribery.


In conjunction with the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, Pact has produced anti-bribery guidelines for independent producers.

These high-level principles and guidelines represent a combined view of best practice to help independent production companies to comply with the Bribery Act 2010 (“the Act”). These guidelines are also supported by STV, UTV and S4C. It is important that production companies understand the implications of this legislation in the UK and beyond. Failure to comply and to implement a company anti-bribery policy could result in senior management facing serious criminal and civil sanctions.

Alongside the high-level principles, the guidelines also include useful examples of potential offences under the Act and guidance on issues such as gifts and hospitality in the workplace.

The guidelines can be found here.

Bribery Act 2010

The Bribery Act 2010 created four new offences; the most important for content creators are as follows:

  • An offence may be committed under section 1 when a promise, financial or otherwise, is made to someone to "perform improperly", in either their public or private functions.
  • An offence may be committed under section 6 where the promise is made to a foreign public official with the intention of gaining a business advantage.

Facilitation payments, payments to induce an official to perform a function they already have a duty to perform, are bribes. A person who is forced to make a facilitated payment to protect against loss of life, limb or liberty or to protect their safety is unlikely to be prosecuted and in any event there is a legal defence of duress.

If you are aware of any payment or promise of payment (or other advantage) which may fall under the above provisions, or if any request for payment (or any other advantage) is sought which might be caught by the Act, this must be reported as soon as possible to the independent production company you are working for and to the content lawyer/compliance advisor at Channel 4.

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