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Is your business ready for the Home Office audit on Modern Slavery statements?

Liz Minshall
Jan 22, 2019

Greater enforcement, greater protection

The Modern Slavery Act came into force in 2015 to recognise and thwart the growing problem of slavery, servitude and human trafficking in the UK.

The Act provides a clear definition of modern slavery and puts in place greater powers to enable law enforcement bodies to tackle this issue, while ensuring that victims can access support and protection. In addition, an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner position has been created to encourage good practice in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of modern slavery offences.

The focus of the Act has been to strengthen the action to tackle modern slavery and since its introduction there has been growing awareness and publicity of enforcement action. For business, the main change has been the introduction of section 54, Transparency in supply chains.

Does your business have a turnover greater than £36m?

If the answer is yes, then Section 54: Transparency in supply chains will apply to your business. This requires the production of a statement that should detail the steps your business has taken to tackle modern slavery within the business, as well as within its supply chain, during the financial year.

A link to the statement should be published on your company’s website homepage. In addition, the Home Office are:

What to look out for in 2019

Many businesses have responded to the Section 54 requirement; however, there has been criticism that policing of this has been limited. The Home Office has responded by writing to organisations that they believe need to comply.

A list of non-compliant organisations will be announced following an audit on 31 March 2019.

Do you need support?

According to TISC Report, there are 8,276 UK organisations, which despite having had 12 months to produce one, have not yet published a statement. While a review by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre has highlighted that many companies are not meeting the legal minimum requirements for the statements:

UK Modern Slavery Act Compliance with Minimum Requirements

Source: Modern Slavery Registry, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

We can help businesses to meet requirements under the Modern Slavery Act. Please visit our Modern Slavery web page for further details of how we can help or call us on 03450 682 572 to find out more.

 

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.