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Modern slavery act statements

Modern slavery act statements

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was introduced to increase the transparency of big businesses with turnover of £36m per year and adds additional reporting obligations on these businesses. The Act applies to commercial organisations and aims to encourage transparency in relation to slavery and human trafficking.  The reporting element of the Modern Slavery Act applies to both UK and non UK businesses.

The Modern Slavery Act requires qualifying businesses to make statements on “slavery” and “human trafficking” issues for each financial year following 31 March 2016. The Act sets out offences relating to “slavery”, “servitude” and “human trafficking” and these terms are defined within the Home Office Guidance. Modern Slavery Act statements must set out the steps that a business is taking, or not taking, to ensure that its business and supply chain are free from “slavery”. These statements may also include information on the business' policy on slavery and human trafficking and information on the due diligence processes the business carries out in relation to this. Modern Slavery Act statements must be approved and signed by the business. A business may also use its statement to identify those parts of the business and supply chain where there is a risk of slavery and trafficking.

The Act does not prescribe a set time limit in which to make a Modern Slavery Act statement but Home Office guidance suggests that the statement should be made as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the financial year. These provisions have been criticised as there is no central register of the statements which have been made in compliance with the Modern Slavery Act.  Modern Slavery Act statements, however, are to be published on a business' website and a link to the statement should also be present in a prominent place on its website. 

The government has published guidance on “Transparency in Supply Chains”, which sets out best practice for businesses and also provides assistance for those preparing their statement, see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transparency-in-supply-chains-a-practical-guide.

If you wish to speak to somebody to get further advice on this, please contact Miranda Mulligan. 

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances. 

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