A sports association should be committed to conducting all of its business in an honest and ethical manner, and should adopt a zero tolerance policy towards fraud, bribery and any form of dishonesty in its business and transactions. MOD policy will in most circumstances take primacy, but trustees should consider the occasions when the association is acting primarily in its charitable capacity and apply this guidance accordingly. The following principles provide a useful guide for association trustees:
- RAF Sports associations should recognise that as a charity based in the UK it has a legal duty under the Bribery Act 2010 Section 7 to put in place adequate measures to prevent any person or body it associates with from undertaking bribery and corruption. RAF sports associations must uphold all laws relevant to countering bribery, fraud and corruption in all the jurisdictions in which it operates. No matter where the organisation, its staff and volunteers are it must abide by the laws of the UK, in respect of conduct both at home and abroad.
- Bribery and corruption are punishable for individuals by up to ten years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine, and if the RAF sports association, or person associated with it, is found to have taken part in corruption it could also face a fine and be excluded from certain opportunities as well as suffering damage to its reputation.
- Associations could also attract liability under the Bribery Act 2010 if a person associated with it is found to have paid a bribe on its behalf, and the association did not have adequate procedures in place to prevent such conduct. The RAF sports association must therefore takes its legal responsibilities very seriously. Likewise, fraud may lead to civil and/or criminal proceedings.
- Any allegation that an employee, trustee, volunteer, contractor or anyone else acting on behalf of an RAF sports association has acted in a manner that is illegal or inconsistent with this guidance will be treated seriously, regardless of the seniority of those involved. Disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or expulsion may result. Where it is believed that a criminal offence may have been committed, the police and other relevant bodies may be informed.
The aims of this guidance are to:
- Promote a culture of honesty, integrity and professionalism;
- Set out the responsibilities, of those working for or on behalf of RAF sports associations, in observing and upholding the organisations position on bribery, fraud and corruption; and
- Provide information and guidance to those working for or on behalf of the RAF sports associations on how to recognise and address bribery, fraud and corruption issues.
Application of the Guidance
This guidance applies to the conduct of all those representing the RAF sports associations and any third party acting on their behalf, a non-exhaustive list of which includes: Trustees, permanent and fixed term staff, consultants, contractors, trainees, seconded staff, home workers, casual workers, agency staff, volunteers, interns, agents, sponsors, members or any other person associated with the association.
The RAF sports associations should draw this guidance to the attention of consultants and contractors through their procurement processes.
A bribe is an inducement or reward offered, promised or provided in order to gain any commercial, contractual, regulatory or personal advantage. The advantage sought or the inducement offered does not have to be financial or remunerative in nature, and may take the form of improper performance of an activity or function.
Gifts and Hospitality
Regulations for gifts and hospitality applicable to Service personnel are contained within JSP 462.
Representatives of RAF sports associations should avoid situations where they, could be open to suspicion of dishonesty. Individuals should, therefore, always have in mind the need not to give the impression to any of their colleagues, or organisations with whom they deal, or the public, that they may be influenced, or have, in fact, been influenced by any gift or consideration, to show favour or disfavour to a person or organisation whilst acting in an official capacity. The only exceptions to this rule are as follows:
- Isolated gifts of a trivial character or inexpensive seasonal gifts up to the value of £50 which are declared;
- Conventional hospitality provided it is normal and reasonable in the circumstances, and in the business interests of the Charity;
- Gifts provided by hosting countries presented to all countries and/or delegates when attending an event;
In considering what is normal and reasonable, regard should be given to:
- The degree of personal involvement. There is unlikely to be an objection to the acceptance of, for example, an invitation to an event from organisations with which the RAF sports association is in regular contact, or of working lunches (provided the frequency is reasonable) in the course of normal business;
- The usual conventions of returning hospitality. The isolated acceptance of, for example, a meal, would not offend the rule, whereas the acceptance of frequent or regular invitations to lunch or dinner on a wholly one-sided basis, even on a small scale, might give rise to a breach of the standard of conduct required.
If there is some doubt raised, or the individual has any doubt about the proprietary of accepting any gifts, benefit or hospitality, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chair of the Trustees of the RAF sports association, whose decision shall be final, must be consulted. In the case of the either party requiring any clarification, then the RAF Sports Federation can provide further clarification.
It must be noted that, any money, gift or consideration received by an individual from a person or organisation holding, or seeking to obtain, a contract with the RAF sports association including any purchase contracts, will be deemed to have been received corruptly unless proved to the contrary. It is, therefore, essential to declare any gifts or considerations received to the chair of the RAF sports association and to obtain written approval for the retention of the gift. Such approval is to be recorded in a Hospitality and Gifts Register which must be set up and maintained by each RAF sports association. Information must be retained for at least 10 years.
It is not acceptable for any person representative of an RAF sports association (or someone on their 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;
- Give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality to a government official, agent or representative to “facilitate” or expedite a routine procedure;
- Accept payment from a third party that they know or suspect is offered with the expectation that it will obtain a business advantage for them;
- Accept a gift or hospitality from a third party if they know or suspect that it is offered or provided with an expectation that a business advantage will be provided by the RAF sports association in return;
- Threaten another representative of the RAF sports association who has refused to commit a bribery offence or who has raised concerns under this guidance; or
- Engage in any activity that might lead to a breach of this guidance.
RAF sports associations should only make charitable donations that are deemed legal and ethical. No donations of any kind must be offered or made without the prior approval of the Chairman of the respective association.
There is no precise legal definition of fraud. It is generally taken to involve theft – the removal of cash or assets to which the fraudster is not entitled; or false accounting – the falsification or alteration of accounting records or other documents.
RAF sports associations are potentially exposed to:
- External fraud, perpetuated by individuals outside the organisation;
- Internal fraud, perpetuated by management, other employees and volunteers and
- Collusion – either within or between staff and outsiders.
RAF sports associations apply funds to achieve their strategic aims. Any loss through fraud will reduce the ability to deliver objectives. Fraud, or attempted fraud, will be viewed as very serious and will lead to disciplinary action, potentially dismissal or expulsion and legal action against the individuals or corporate entities involved.
The RAF Sports Federation will investigate all reports of fraud or potential fraud by RAF sports associations utilising its services. These should be reported in the first instance to the Chief Executive Officer who will determine, in conjunction with a Board Trustee, whether there is sufficient evidence or threat to the RAF Sports Federation or wider RAF reputation to justify further investigation. The investigation will be conducted either by appropriate staff or by appointed individuals outside of the organisation. The Chair of the RAF Sports Federation Board will be informed of the start of any investigation, and the Federation’s Board of Trustees will be informed of the outcome of the investigation. It may be necessary to preserve confidentiality during investigations and any disciplinary procedures following from the investigation. Where there is any report of fraud against the Chief Executive Officer or Chair of the Board, the Board of Trustees (excluding the CEO and Chair) will be informed immediately.
As appropriate and normally in consultation with DRS, the RAF Sports Federation will report fraud or attempted fraud to the Service or civilian police. The RAF Sports Federation will give full assistance to the police in any enquiries.
The RAF Sports Federation will seek to restore its assets or assets of an RAF sports association utilising its services, or recover financial losses against fraudsters.
Ultimate responsibility for implementing this guidance rests with the board of trustees of each RAF sports association. The prevention, detection and reporting of bribery and other forms of corruption are the responsibility of all those working and volunteering for the RAF sports associations
Any representative of an RAF sports association who breaches this guidance is likely to face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct in the case of an employee. RAF sports associations should reserve the right to terminate any contractual relationship with contractors, agents or consultants if they breach this guidance.
The RAF Sports Federation will keep relevant financial records for all those associations who utilise its financial services and have appropriate internal controls in place which will evidence the business reason for making payments to third parties.
RAF sports association trustees and volunteers should declare and keep a written record of all hospitality or gifts in accordance with the Hospitality and Gifts guidance.
All accounts, invoices, memoranda and other documents and records relating to dealings with third parties, such as clients, suppliers and business contacts, should be prepared and maintained with strict accuracy and completeness. No accounts must be kept “off-book” to facilitate or conceal improper payments.
How to Raise a Concern?
All employees, trustees, volunteers, contractors, or anyone else acting on behalf of an RAF sports association are encouraged to raise concerns about any issue or suspicion of malpractice at the earliest possible stage. If an individual is unsure whether a particular act constitutes bribery or corruption, or if they have any other queries, these can be raised with the RAF Sports Federation CEO or the Chairman of their association. Concerns should be reported in writing as quickly as possible. The RAF Sports Federation will take all reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of those raising concerns.
The RAF Sports Federation is committed to ensuring no one suffers any detrimental treatment as a result of refusing to take part in bribery or corruption, or because of reporting in good faith their suspicion that an actual or potential bribery or other corruption offence has taken place, or may take place in the future. Detrimental treatment includes dismissal, disciplinary action, threats or other unfavourable treatment connected with raising a concern. If any representative of the RAF Sports Federation or RAF sports association believes that they have suffered any such treatment, they should inform the RAF Sports Federation CEO or the chairman of their association immediately.