UK Modern Slavery Act: Analysis of early company statements, new guidance available
Early company reports so far appear not to be meeting the Act’s requirements, and lack adequate information
- Guidance now available for company reporting, but ultimately government may need to enforce better reporting to drive corporate action on modern slavery
- New free, public registry will monitor company compliance with the Act
Analysis reveals that the majority of company statements published to date do not yet comply with the Act’s requirements: companies must make a statement approved by the Board and signed by a company director (or equivalent) available on the homepage of the company’s website.
Out of 75 statements found, only 22 were both signed by a director and available from the company’s website homepage. Thirty-three were not signed by the director, and 33 companies had not placed a link to the statement from their website homepage.
While there are no legal requirements on the content of the statement, the legislation suggests six areas on which information may be included, such as organisational structure, company policies and due diligence; nineteen statements published so far address all these points. Critically, only 9 statements met the minimum requirements and covered the six suggested areas.
The CORE Coalition and its partner organisations including Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International, CAFOD, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), Know the Chain, Quakers in Britain, ShareAction, Traidcraft and Unicef UK have produced new guidance for companies on how they can report effectively under the Act. The guidance is also supported by ECPAT UK, Walk Free and Unseen.