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The Modern Slavery Act

The UK’s Modern Slavery Act requires businesses to disclose their approach to forced labour on their website. Affected organisations need to produce a statement within six months of their year-end.

Does your business need to produce a statement?

Find out by using our free Modern Slavery assessment tool.

Who is affected?

Any business with UK operations and a revenue of £36m or more. It is UK presence (not country of origin) and size of operations that makes the Act applicable. So businesses based outside the UK may still be caught.

What must businesses do?

If they are in scope, publish a website statement of their approach to modern slavery – or state they take no measures. Many will feel this is a burden – and we offer a proportionate, pragmatic solution.

When must they do it?

Within six months of their year end from March 2016. So statements will be appearing with increasing rapidity.

What are we offering?

  • A free, confidential online diagnostic tool for businesses to determine their level of obligation and risk profile.
  • A compliant Modern Slavery Act statement for their website, tailored to the business’ structure and risk profile.
  • An Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking policy, designed to reflect the business’ practices and procedures.
  • Terms and conditions for contracts with new suppliers and declarations of compliance for existing supplier relationships.
  • Training for relevant staff according to the needs of the business.
  • Specific investigation, reputation and risk management advice.

The business context

The UK government is increasingly following a know and show (or to some, name and shame) approach to business standards.

When she was Home Secretary, Theresa May promoted the Modern Slavery Act which requires affected businesses to publish a statement regarding their approach to forced labour and exploitation. As with anti-bribery and corruption legislation, the aim is to improve business in the UK, and to compel those doing business in the UK to be accountable for supplier practices around the world. The UK wants to set a standard internationally.

Politicians have signalled they intend to improve trust in business standards in several areas. This is just one.

Mrs May made explaining the issue for business. She spoke again on the Act on 12 October 2016.
Watch the video

Core concerns

This is not just an issue of compliance. It goes to brand, customer and regulator reputation and helps demonstrate an organisation’s status as a well-run business.

  • There are an estimated 10,000 - 13,000 people in the UK who are forced to work against their will
  • In 2016 a UK food producer was fined for using forced labour in providing eggs to UK businesses, compelling supermarkets to promote their own supply chain standards
  • Industries such as consumer, retail, and construction are high risk
  • US and tech clients are already familiar with similar principles in California legislation, which differs in some respects

Market response

Over 700 businesses in the UK now have published statements about their compliance with the Act. Visit the register of them which is actively monitored. Landlords include anti-slavery clauses in leases. Others include key terms in supplier contracts, and Stronger Together provides a resource centre.

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