The message from the CEO is clear, stating that “the global business environment in which we operate grows ever tougher and presents us with unprecedented challenges. Some things remain clear and constant and we maintain a zero tolerance policy towards any kind of bribery or corruption, or retaliation for raising a concern”.
An Anti-bribery/Anti-corruption Risk Assessment is carried out on a regular basis within all businesses in the Group. In addition to the usual risk assessments carried out as part of Cobham’s risk management programme, a periodic ‘deeper dive’ risk assessment is conducted, typically by way of a questionnaire circulated to selected employees , from differing levels and functions.. The results of these risk assessments are reviewed, consolidated and then reported to the audit committee. This provides a greater insight as to the areas of focus and forms the basis for improvements to be integrated into the annual the Cobham Ethics & Compliance Programme Plan (CECP). .
A periodic external review of the programme is also conducted. The results are reported to the audit committee. Any recommended areas for improvement are included into the CECP.
All Cobham employees must comply with the Anti-bribery/Anti-corruption policy at all times. This policy is applicable to all employees and board members without exception. The policy specifies they must never offer, promise, or agree to receive or accept a bribe, kickback, facilitation payment or other unlawful benefit, or engage in any other prohibited activity. The prohibition applies to business dealings in all circumstances. This includes dealings with those representing other organisations as well as private individuals and government/public officials. It also applies irrespective of the motive - whether that may be to obtain or retain business or to otherwise influence an individual, an organisation or a government/public official to act improperly for the benefit of Cobham.
Gifts and Hospitality
Cobham understands that the exchange of gifts and hospitality is a cultural expectation in many parts of the world, and can often promote successful working relationships and foster goodwill. However, Cobham employees must also be aware that there is a risk that the giving and receiving of gifts, entertainment or hospitality, may be perceived as an unlawful attempt to improperly influence a business decision. Employees are therefore required to become familiar with and to follow, the Gifts and Hospitality policy. The policy is principle based, requiring employees to be mindful that regardless of value, the perception of undue influence must always be carefully considered before acceptance. The policy therefore provides that both financial limits and certain governing principles must be satisfied, and that if certain financial thresholds are reached, escalated approvals are required, up to and including approval from the CEO. Any gifts or hospitality, including meals with customers, are recorded in a central register. The Group Legal & Compliance function actively monitor these records to check submissions meet the policy requirements.
There is an additional United States Government Gratuities policy which must be complied with, in addition to the Gifts and Hospitality policy, if dealing with US Government officials.
Gifts and Hospitality Policy
Facilitation payments are defined as unofficial payments to a Government Official to expedite or secure the performance of a routine action, which has already been paid for, or to which Cobham is already legally entitled. These can be contrasted with official payments to government authorities which are made transparently and are properly accounted for, e.g. a payment made to a passport agency to have a replacement passport issued urgently. Facilitation payments are prohibited under the Cobham Anti-bribery/Anti-corruption policy.
Charitable and Political Donations
Cobham does not seek to discourage employees from supporting bona fide charitable organisations, through their own fundraising or individual efforts or from personal donations outside and unconnected to their employment. However, making charitable gifts/donations or political contributions using Cobham funds can be classified as a form of bribery/corruption, and is prohibited under the Cobham Anti-bribery/Anti-corruption policy. If employees want more information, full details of what is allowable are set out in the Anti-bribery/Anti-corruption policy.
Cobham recognises that government lobbying can create potential risks, including bribery and corruption. Accordingly, any third party engaged in government lobbying must follow the same approval process as that contained in the Intermediary Engagement policy before it can be engaged. The process requires various steps to be satisfied, including risk-weighted due diligence (including ownership details), risk-weighted approval escalation, proportionate remuneration and inclusion of contractual anti-bribery and corruption contractual clauses. There are specific US rules and regulations on government lobbying. Cobham therefore also has a specific US Government Relations and Lobbying policy to address those requirements.