UK: One third of govt.'s top 100 suppliers fail to meet Modern Slavery Act requirements, report says

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Article
21 May 2019

Modern slavery reporting performance of UK govt.'s top suppliers still low according to updated research

Author: Kieran Guilbert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

'UK urged to 'lead by example' on slavery as top state suppliers flout law' 20 May 2019

Britain is failing to lead by example in efforts to stop modern slavery as nearly a third of the government’s top suppliers are flouting a landmark anti-slavery law...

About 29 of the nation’s 100 biggest suppliers last year did not meet a legal requirement to outline the steps they had taken to combat the risk of forced labor within their supply chains, showed research by business consultancies Sancroft and Tussell.

Four of the suppliers... did not produce a statement, while others such as Microsoft did not feature it correctly on their websites or failed to have the document signed by directors...

Britain’s new independent anti-slavery commissioner Sara Thornton said the law should be widened to also cover the public sector...

The number of compliant companies rose to 71 last year from 53 in 2017 yet the tally remains low...

Airbus, accountancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) and Microsoft were among the non-compliant companies having failed to link to a statement on their website homepages, the research found.

Yet Airbus and EY said they complied with the law after being informed of their omissions, according to Sancroft and Tussell. Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment...

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Report
20 May 2019

New report on eliminating modern slavery in UK public procurement

Author: Sancroft Team

'The Sancroft-Tussell Report: Eliminating Modern Slavery in Public Procurement' 20 May 2019

In 2017/18, the government spent around £284 billion buying goods, services and works from external suppliers, accounting for around one in three pounds of public sector spending... 

...It is essential that everything possible is done to enforce the provisions of the Act and ensure spending on public services does not inadvertently enable modern slavery.

...Sancroft and Tussell have produced a second edition of the report: Eliminating Modern Slavery in Public Procurement... [examining] the modern slavery reporting of central government’s top 100 suppliers...

...Moving beyond legal compliance, it analyses how companies are using performance indicators to demonstrate commitment to tackling this serious crime and measure progress over time...

Key findings

High spending power [of] UK government...

Legal compliance remains low: almost 1/3... not compliant...

Suppliers with no-statement: Three companies... have no statement...

Spending on non-compliance: Government spent £2.8 billion on non-compliant suppliers within top 100.

Failure to measure performance: Only nine companies reported on progress...

Few businesses committing to operational change: Just 34% of compliant companies state plans for coming year that involve a change in business practice.

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Report
26 March 2018

Report analyses modern slavery reporting performance of UK govt’s top 100 suppliers

Author: Amelia Shean, Nora Wolters, Dom Deville and Hetty Gittus, Sancroft Team

The Sancroft- Tussell Report: Eliminating Modern Slavery in Public Procurement, 22 March 2018

…A joint Sancroft-Tussell examination… explores how central government’s top contractors are facing up to the challenge of identifying and addressing modern slavery. It analyses the modern slavery reporting performance of the top 100 suppliers to central government… It goes on to set out the business case for companies to do more to eliminate modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, providing guidance to business on where, how, and why they should be taking effective action to manage modern slavery risk. It also touches upon the role of central government in incentivising better performance by businesses…

Key findings:

Poor legal compliance ...

Lack of understanding regarding law and management practices...

Stronger reporting on organisational structure and policy architecture...

Absence of risk assessment and/or identification...

Failure to measure performance...

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