Home Office written question – answered on 19th July 2022.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Climate Change and Net Zero)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will have discussions with officials in her Department on the potential merits of strengthening the clarity and enforceability of section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 through (a) mandating specific topics in annual self-reporting, (b) setting a single deadline, (c) introducing effective penalties and (d) making that data publicly available.

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.

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 Government modern slavery statement registry.

In January 2021 the Government further 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. The Home Office will engage with organisations so they are aware when the new reporting requirements will come into effect, so they have time to prepare. We will also publish new guidance to support organisations to meet the new requirements.

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 and making the data readily available for the public. Since launch, over 8,350 modern slavery statements covering over 28,000 organisations have been submitted to the registry on a voluntary basis.

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