The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires commercial organisations which supply goods or services in the UK and have an annual turnover of £36m or more (including subsidiaries, wherever they may be based) to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement on their website, in respect of each financial year.
A new Modern Slavery (Transparency in Supply Chains) Bill 2017 had its first reading in the House of Lords this summer. The Bill seeks to strengthen the current anti-slavery regime in the UK by, for example:
• requiring public authorities, in addition to commercial organisations, to publish Transparency Statements; • if an organisation’s transparency statement states that it has taken no steps to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from its supply chain and business, then it would need to explain the reasons why; and • setting out a mandatory list of 6 items which organisations must cover in their transparency statements (these are presently optional).
The new bill will also seek to amend other legislation relating to public procurement. This will prevent a bidder, who falls within the scope of the bill, from participating in a public procurement procedure unless it has complied with the obligation to publish a transparency statement.
For more on this update and a review of transparency statements which have been published in the last year, please see our detailed analysis here.