Slavery

Home Office written question – answered on 20th July 2022.

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Photo of Christina Rees Christina Rees Labour/Co-operative, Neath

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of eligible organisations under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 have successfully complied with their obligation to report annually on the steps taken to prevent modern slavery in each year since that Act was introduced.

Photo of Amanda Solloway Amanda Solloway Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Equalities), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 established the UK as the first country in the world to require businesses to report annually on steps taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

Compliance with section 54 is high. In 2019, the Home Office contracted the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) to undertake an audit of compliance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The audit was concluded in January 2020 with data accurate up to this point. The high-level findings of this audit were published on 17 September 2020 in the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s annual report (available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-anti-slavery-commissioners-annual-report-2019-to-2020).

To further drive compliance with section 54, the Government response to the Transparency in Supply Chains consultation, published on 22 September 2020, committed to taking forwards an ambitious package of measures to strengthen the Act’s transparency legislation, including:

  • Extending the reporting requirement to public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more;
  • Mandating the specific reporting topics statements must cover;
  • Requiring organisations to publish their statement on the new Government registry

The Government has also committed to introduce financial penalties for organisations who fail to meet their statutory obligations to publish annual modern slavery statements. These measures require primary legislation and, as announced in the Queen’s Speech, we intend to legislate in the forthcoming Modern Slavery Bill.

In addition, in March 2021, the Government launched the modern slavery statement registry to radically enhance transparency by bringing together modern slavery statements on a single platform. The registry will provide a key tool for Government and others to monitor and drive compliance with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. We have been encouraged by use of the registry. Since launch, over 8,300 modern slavery statements covering over 27,800 organisations have been submitted on a voluntary basis.

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