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Our Fraud Statement

Anti-Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Policy

The policy statement sets out the Stonebridge Associated Colleges ( “ The Company ” ) approach to mitigate the risk of fraud, bribery and corruption.

Purpose

This policy statement communicates the Company’s approach to conducting business legitimately and with integrity, setting out the framework of policies and procedures in place to ensure that these standards are maintained to mitigate the occurrence of financial irregularity including fraud, bribery or corruption.

Scope

This policy statement covers any financial irregularity or suspected irregularity and applies to the Board of Directors, employees; agents/representatives; delivery partners, contractors, outside agencies doing business with employees of the Company (whether permanent, fixed term or temporary}, and/or any other parties with a business relationship with the Company.

Key Principles

The Company is committed to conducting business with the highest standards of honesty and integrity, operating in a responsible and transparent way. The Company will not tolerate fraud, bribery, corruption and/or any conduct which results in the misreporting of the services we have delivered; the performance levels achieved or the funding to which we are entitled.

The Company is committed to the ongoing evaluation of its processes and controls in order to ensure that this aspect of risk is monitored, addressed and minimised. To ensure this, the Company uses the 'three lines of defence' model to define accountabilities for governance, risk management and internal control across the group:

  • primary controls over the risks to the business are located and managed in 'day to day' operations and functions;
    • these are supported by internal monitoring and oversight through its governance structures and oversight functions who set boundaries by implementing policies and monitoring compliance,
    • independent reviews by the Director of Quality/Audit Team and/or external auditors provide the third line of defence. The Company’s approach is to treat all allegations of financial irregularity, suspected fraud, bribery or corruption seriously in accordance with a robust framework of policies and procedures (annex A). This includes promoting a culture of openness and accountability and supports the three key objectives of the Company’s counter fraud approach to prevent, detect and respond to the risk of financial irregularity in its business and supply chain.

Prevent

  • Implement appropriate policies and procedures to mitigate the risk of fraud, bribery or corruption including but not limited to effective governance structures, risk management processes and internal controls.
    • Publish zero tolerance approach to fraud, bribery and corruption to all staff and externally via company website.
    • Set and communicate clear standards to staff and suppliers including sanctions for breach of these requirements.

Detect
• Operate a programme of staff training to raise awareness for potential fraud indicators
• Implement management checking regimes to detect and identify fraud, bribery or corruption,
• Ensure staff have access to a range of routes to raise a concern.
• Have an independent internal audit function responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of risk management and internal control.

Respond
• Implement formal procedures in line with legislative requirements to investigate all allegations of suspected financial irregularity including fraud, bribery or corruption.
• Where irregularities occur, identify the root cause(s) and implement control improvements to mitigate the risk of occurrence.
• Operate effective disciplinary procedures for any staff involved in any financial irregularity.
• Make contract decisions where financial irregularities are found in suppliers’ delivery.
• Refer suspected or actual criminal activity by staff or suppliers to the Police.
• Support the Police in the prosecution of potentially criminal activity.
• Seek to recover any financial losses through fraud, bribery and corruption.
• Take disciplinary action where our own staff are implicated and if criminal activity is suspected refer the employee, or supplier to the Police.

The process of mitigating the risk to the business through fraud, financial irregularity, bribery and corruption is constantly changing as the business, the sectors in which we operate and the relevant legislation continually evolves. We promote consistent organisational behaviour by providing guidelines and assigning responsibility for the development and implementation of effective operational processes and controls to mitigate the risk and have set procedures outlining how investigations in relation to, financial irregularity, fraud, bribery and/or corruption is carried out.

Version Control

Version / Issue                  Date                     Approved By      Revision Notes
1                                           Feb 2019             Quality Director New group publication
2                                           Apr 2020             Quality Director Annual review
2.1                                       Oct 2020             Quality Director Added Approver/position

Annex A

The corporate policies and standards that form the basis of the Company’s anti-fraud and bribery approach are summarised below:

  • Code of Conduct - details the expectations of all employees' behaviour, incorporating Accepting gifts & hospitality; Conflicts of interest; Confidentiality and Criminal acts/offences
    • Personal Relationships at Work (outlined in the Code of Conduct)-sets out expectations and standards required of employees who may form friendships and close personal relationships with colleagues in the business.
    • Whistleblowing Policy - this covers the disclosure internally by employees, and those working on behalf of the Company such as contractors and consultants, of malpractice as well as illegal acts or omissions.
    • Whistleblowing procedure - there are a number of established steps for staff, suppliers and learners to report a concern. Internal reporting routes are published within the Whistleblowing Policy, along with External reporting routes should individuals feel it necessary to raise their concerns independently.
    • Group Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy - this policy states the Company’s commitment to honest, ethical business practices and behaviours, compliant with the Bribery Act. It applies to all staff and subcontractors.