UK Government Commits to Strengthening Modern Slavery Act

05-10-2020

 

On 22 September 2020, the UK Government published a report following the Transparency in Supply Chains consultation it launched in September last year.

The report summarises the consultation’s feedback and, of interest to businesses, it also outlines the Government’s planned next steps.

In an effort to strengthen the effectiveness of the transparency provisions within the Modern Slavery Act (MSA), the UK Government will:

  1. Introduce mandatory reporting areas that MSA statements must cover

It is currently at the discretion of organisations to report according to the proposed six categories. The structure of the mandatory areas will be designed in tandem with the development of a Government-run reporting registry. New guidance will be published to help organisations prepare for the changes.

  1. Set a single reporting deadline

Organisations will be required to report on the same twelve-month period (April to March) and will be granted six months to work on their statement, which will be due by 30 September.

  1. Require organisations to publish their statements directly to the new Government-run registry

The Government reporting service is expected to increase transparency and, consequently, the level of scrutiny by investors and civil society organisations.

  1. Have public authorities covered by the reporting requirements too

Public bodies with an annual turnover of GBP 36 million or more will also be required to publish a statement.

The organisations’ statements will also have to bear the date of the Board’s approval and the Director’s sign-off.

Going forward, group statements will have to list all the entities falling under the corporate group.

Next Steps

The UK Government is expected to issue additional information concerning enforcement options and in particular the introduction of civil penalties since the consultation’s feedback was rather mixed.

We will be monitoring further steps, including any legislative amendments to the MSA, and will keep our members informed of any relevant updates.

Contact

Valentina Bolognesi, Social and Environmental Policy Advisor

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UK Government Launches Transparency in Supply Chains Consultation