Modern Slavery reporting in the UK – is your business compliant?

2 September 2020 - The deadline for Modern Slavery reporting has been extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although companies must set out the reason for requiring an extension when issuing the statement. Here is what you need to know in order to ensure your business is compliant.

What is Modern Slavery reporting?

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires large businesses to disclose the steps they have taken to ensure their business and supply chains are free from modern slavery (that is, slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labor and human trafficking).

The Government has recently acknowledged that due to the pandemic, companies may not be able to publish their statements on time. These can, therefore, be delayed by up to six months. However, the reason for the delay must be set out in the statement when issued.

The statement will need to be approved by the board and signed by a director. If the organisation has a website, the statement must be published on it.

Modern Slavery Reporting

The company or the group is required to publish the slavery and human trafficking statement on its website and include a link to the statement in a prominent place on its homepage. If the company or the group does not have a website, it must prepare and provide a copy of the slavery and human trafficking statement to anyone who makes a written request for one within 30 days of receiving such a request.

There is no requirement that the company or the group guarantees that the entire supply chain is slavery free, which in practice may be difficult or impossible to determine. It is essential that the company or the group ensures that the slavery and human trafficking statement:

  • Is underpinned by concrete actions it have taken or continues to take to address modern slavery in supply chains.
  • Is able to withstand scrutiny from key stakeholders, regulators and the public at large.

Contents

The Act does not currently mandate what a slavery and human trafficking statement should contain, nor require that it take any particular form. The Act sets out the following information that may be included in a slavery and human trafficking statement:

  • The organisation's structure, its business and its supply chains.
  • Its policies in relation to modern slavery.
  • Its due diligence processes in relation to slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains.
  • The parts of its business and supply chains where there is a risk of slavery and human trafficking taking place, and the steps it has taken to assess and manage that risk.
  • Its effectiveness in ensuring slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in its business or supply chains, measured against such performance indicators as it considers appropriate.
  • The training about slavery and human trafficking available to its staff.

As a body corporate, the Act requires that the slavery and human trafficking statement is approved by the board and signed by a director. The person who signs the statement should ensure they verify the accuracy of the statement before signing, given their ongoing duty to act with care, skill and diligence under the Companies Act 2006.

COVID-19 and deadline

The statement must ordinarily be published six months after the company or group’s financial year end. This can now be extended for up to six months because of the pandemic, but Companies and groups must set out the reason for the extension in the statement.

 

Our contacts

Kariem Abdellatif

Kariem Abdellatif

Head of Mercator by Citco

T+352 47 23 23 265
Ekabdellatif@citco.com
LLuxembourg

Robert-Jan Kokshoorn

Robert-Jan Kokshoorn

Head of Business Development,
Mercator by Citco

T+1 415 470 1935
Erkokshoorn@citco.com

Chris Butler

Chris Butler

Head of Operations,
Mercator by Citco

T+370 5 204 7300
Echbutler@citco.com
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