Does your Statement contain the required detail?
There are no set rules on what to present in a Statement, and the information included will depend on the organisation's industry, the complexity of its structure and supply chains, and the particular sectors and nations its suppliers are working in. However, the Guidance to the Act6 suggests that a Statement should include information on:
- the organisation's structure, its business and its supply chains;
- its policies in relation to slavery and human trafficking;
- 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 (note: if no steps have been taken then the Statement must state this);
- its effectiveness in ensuring that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in its business or supply chains, measured against such performance indicators as it considers appropriate; and
- the training and capacity building about slavery and human trafficking available to its staff.
Has your Statement been "approved" and published?
The Statement must be "approved" and published on the company website with a prominent link to it on the homepage. The requirement for "approval" can be satisfied in accordance with the Guidance as follows:
- if your business is a body corporate other than a limited liability partnership, it must be approved by the board of directors (or equivalent management body) and signed by a director (or equivalent);
- if your business is a limited liability partnership, it must be approved by the members and signed by a designated member;
- if your business is a limited partnership registered under the Limited Partnerships Act 1907, it must be signed by a general partner; and
- if your business is any other kind of partnership, it must be signed by a partner.
What are the risks of non-compliance?
The Secretary of State has the power to seek injunctive relief in the High Court which would force publication of a Statement, and to impose a fine for contempt of court where a company fails to comply with the Act. Non-compliant companies may also be subject to name and shame campaigns from pressure groups, and thereby risk reputational damage.
Certain commercial organisations are required under The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the "Act") to publish an annual Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement (a "Statement") describing what steps (if any) they have taken to combat slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour, and human trafficking in their businesses and supply chains. Every eligible company5 is required to publish a Statement as soon as reasonably practicable after its fiscal year end.