BAE Systems recognises that working with third parties, particularly in higher risk jurisdictions, can be a significant source of corruption risk. Our Advisers Policy, initially launched in 2007, helps us to address this concern by reducing ethical, reputational and legal risks associated with the appointment and use of Advisers.
The Advisers Policy governs the appointment and management of all third parties engaged to guide, influence, promote, assist and support our sales and marketing efforts and / or the strategic development on the political context of our business, distributors and some security advisers.
Advisers are commonly used in many industries to provide external knowledge and expertise. We engage advisers to support our business in a number of ways, including:
- Providing essential knowledge on dealings in particular markets;
- Providing direct or indirect promotion and support of marketing, sales or business development campaigns;
- Assisting with understanding the customer and / or its organisation, requirements and budget allocation;
- Advising on strategic aims and objectives;
- Assisting with understanding and influencing the strategic or political environment or the context for our business, including lobbyists;
- Assisting with setting up meetings with customer contacts;
- Assisting with offset and counter-trade arrangements; and
- Assisting with assessing a security threat against BAE Systems.
The policy governs our process for selecting, appointing, managing, paying and terminating advisers. The Advisers Policy requires that:
- The Company must only appoint advisers of known integrity and that Advisers must comply with our standards of conduct at all times;
- The appointment process for Advisers confirms that there is no apparent risk that the Adviser will engage in corrupt or unethical behaviour, and that any issues of potential concern are satisfactorily resolved through appropriate due diligence enquiries;
- There is a clearly demonstrated business case for retaining the Adviser and compelling justification for the remuneration proposed; and
- Advisers are reviewed/reassessed every two years or when there is a significant change in circumstances.
Adviser appointments are reviewed and assessed by our Business Development Adviser Compliance Panel, chaired by independent outside legal counsel. This applies to the appointment of all Advisers for business development, security, offset and lobbying activities with the exception of certain domestic lobbyists in the US whose appointment is subject to separate legislative controls.
Employees involved in the appointment and management of advisers receive regular enhanced training on policy and procedure.
The Advisers Policy and procedures incorporate standards expressed in the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Government Officials in International Business Transactions, as they may be implemented in the laws of the countries in which BAE Systems operates. This includes compliance with the anti-bribery provisions of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act 2010 as amended and other national laws as may be applicable.
We have significantly reduced the number of advisers we use since the introduction of our revised Advisers Policy in 2007. Our Advisers Policy endorses the Company's zero tolerance towards corruption.