The 2020 Resource Guide stated, “In addition to considering a company’s due diligence on third parties, DOJ and SEC also assess whether the company has informed third parties of the company’s compliance program and commitment to ethical and lawful business practices and, where appropriate, whether it has sought assurances from third parties, through certifications and otherwise, of reciprocal commitments. These can be meaningful ways to mitigate third-party risk.”
You should incorporate appropriate compliance terms and conditions into in every contract with third-parties. I would suggest that you prepare a template, which can be used as a starting point for your negotiations. The advantages of such a template are several and they include: (1) the contract language is tested against real events; (2) the contract language assists the company in managing its compliance risks; (3) the contract language fits into a series of related contracts; (4) the contract language is straight-forward to administer; and (5) the contract language helps to manage the expectations of both contracting parties regarding anti-bribery and anti-corruption.
Many do not believe that they will be able to get the third-party to agree to such compliance terms and conditions. I have found that while it may not be easy, it is relatively simple to get a third-party to agree to these or similar terms and conditions. One approach to take is that they are not negotiable. When faced with such a position on non-commercial terms many third-parties will not fight such a position. There is some flexibility, but the DOJ will require the minimum compliance terms and conditions. But the best position I have found is that if a third-party agrees with these terms and conditions, they can then use that as a market differentiator.
Three key takeaways:
- Compliance terms and conditions are mandatory for any best practices compliance program.
- A key clause is the right to audit clause.
- Third-parties can favor robust compliance terms and conditions as a market differentiator.