Patchy compliance with UK anti-slavery requirements

From September 2016, businesses with a turnover of £36m or more are required by the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“MSA”) to publish statements on their websites in order to indicate the steps that have been taken to combat modern slavery and human trafficking within their supply chains, yet a recent report by the Thompson Reuters Foundation suggests that only 2 of the 75 statements it has reviewed were fully compliant, and only 9 covered all of the 6 suggested areas set out in government guidance.

Theresa Mimnagh, Associate Director at Lawspeed, said “the level of non-compliance that has been reported is quite surprising, as with the right advice businesses should be able to fully comply both with procedural and practical points and in ensuring, in so far as is possible, that modern slavery and human trafficking is eradicated from supply chains”.

Mimnagh continued “it is not just businesses with turnover of more than £36m that need be concerned with the MSA; other organisations within the supply chain should also be aware, as it is likely that compliance requirements placed on those higher up the chain will be flowed down to suppliers also”.

Modern slavery and human trafficking is something being taken seriously by the government, with a new government taskforce recently set up and a high level of prosecutions for modern slavery offences, including a recent landmark civil case (click here for previous article). It is therefore essential that the requirements under the Act are understood, both for businesses with a high enough turnover to need to comply, and those who are in supply chains.

Lawspeed expects that the recent developments in this area will significantly affect the recruitment industry and advises recruitment businesses to ensure that they are compliant with the anti-modern slavery and human trafficking legal regime.