Modern Slavery Act: duty to scrutinise supply chains now in force 

New rules are now in force requiring commercial organisations with a turnover of £36m or over to publish an annual 'slavery and human trafficking statement', setting out what they are doing to ensure there is no slavery both in their own organisation and in any of their supply chains.

Although the rules came into force on 29 October, there is no need to panic; the requirement only applies in respect of financial years ending on or after 31 March 2016. If your financial year ends before this date, you will not be required to publish a statement for the financial year 2015/2016. The Government recommends that organisations with a year end on or after 31 March 2016 complete and publish their first statements no later than six months from the date of their financial year end.  

The government has also published guidance setting out practical advice on how to write, approve and publish a slavery and human trafficking statement. 

View the guide

Gender equality: PM announces new measures to eradicate gender pay inequality and Lord Davies publishes final report on improving gender balance on British boards 

In July, David Cameron announced plans to 'end the gender pay gap in a generation', and last week the government fleshed out this promise by pledging to:

  • force larger employers to publish information about their bonuses for men and women as part of their gender pay gap reporting;
  • extend plans for gender pay gap reporting beyond private and voluntary sector employers to include the public sector; and
  • work with businesses to eliminate all-male boards in the FTSE 350

In his final report published last week, Lord Davies has highlighted the positive progress made in relation to improving the gender balance on British boards. Currently, within the FTSE 100 there are no male-only boards and women hold 26.1% of board positions, double the figure from February 2011. Within the FTSE 250, women hold 19.6% of board positions, but there are still 15 male-only boards.

Lord Davies argues that introducing mandatory quotas to guarantee female presence on boards is 'unwarranted' at this stage, and instead we should focus on continuing a voluntary, business-led approach over the next five years. He has proposed a new target of all FTSE 350 boards having 33% female representation by 2020 – which would represent around 350 more women in top positions.

How to disclose information safely: ICO publishes guide 

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published a guide on how to disclose information safely by removing personal data before publishing.

The guide will be relevant to organisations dealing with subject access requests, and public authorities responding to freedom of information or environmental information requests. The guide gives an overview of the legal requirements to remove personal data from information being disclosed, and provides examples of inappropriate disclosures the ICO has seen.

View guide