Certain UK companies could face stricter requirements to report actions taken to prevent modern slavery in business operations and supply chains, under government proposals open for comment through 17 Sep 2019. The UK government says that it will liaise with Scotland and Northern Ireland after the consultation closes. Some of the consultation’s proposals are devolved matters, which means that Scotland and Northern Ireland can make their own decisions.
The consultation follows an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which called for improving the quality and transparency of corporate reports, clarifying which companies must report, and extending the reporting requirement to the public sector. The government plans to phase in any changes to reporting duties to give companies time to prepare.
Under the current law, organizations that carry on a business or part of a business in the UK, supply goods or services, and have a minimum annual turnover of £36 million must publish an annual statement setting out the actions taken to prevent modern slavery. The act encompasses the offences of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, and human trafficking. A company’s board of directors must sign and publish the statement within six months of the financial year-end. An estimated 17,000 companies fall within the act’s scope.