Modern Slavery – October 2017 Update

Modern Slavery Act 2015

The UK government estimates that there are tens of thousands people in slavery in the UK and only 1% of victims see their exploiter brought to justice.  In 2015, the UK government introduced the Modern Slavery Act. This legislation focused on the prevention and prosecution of modern slavery and enhancing protection and support for victims. On the 4th October 2017, the UK government updated its guidance to businesses on preventing modern slavery. This blog looks at the key updates and how this affects companies.

What should a Modern Slavery statement contain?

  • The company’s structure and supply chains
  • Company policies on slavery and human trafficking
  • The parts of the business and supply chain that are at risk of modern slavery and the steps they are taking to prevent it.
  • The effectiveness of the steps they have taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking.
  • The training that is available to staff.

Modern Slavery Update October 2017

  1. Board-level approval process

Companies now need to ensure that any modern slavery statements now need to be approved by the most senior level in an organisation, normally the Board. Whoever signs it off should be at the most senior level and the statement should include the date it was approved.

  1. Previous statements should be kept online

Even when new statements on modern slavery are published, companies should ensure that old statements are readily available on their company website for public access.

  1. Statements should not remain static

Companies need to ensure that their statements change and improve annually. Statements should show that steps have been made to tackle modern slavery and reduce risks of it occurring in their company and in their supply chain. Failure to do so could result in the company’s reputation being damaged and scrutinised by third parties such as the media and investors.

  1. Encouragement for smaller companies to produce statements

Companies who are not legally required to produce a modern slavery statement should seriously consider providing a statement voluntarily. This allows smaller companies to prove to customers and suppliers that they are taking measures to tackle modern slavery in the company and their supply chain.

Summary of the personnel today article. Full article can be accessed here

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