The UK Government has announced it plans “New tough measures to tackle modern slavery in supply chains” for 2021 strengthening the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The government says it is committed to harnessing the spending power of the UK’s public sector, accounting for around £250 billion of spend, to ensure responsible practises in supply chains and bring it in line with businesses. Public bodies which have a budget of £36 million or more, including local authorities in England and Wales, will be required to regularly report on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their supply chains.
The government has committed to mandating the key topics that modern slavery statements must cover, from due diligence to risk assessment, to encourage organisations to be transparent about the work they are doing to ensure responsible practices.
It will introduce a requirement, early in 2021, for organisations with a budget of £36 million or more in all sectors to publish their modern slavery statements on a new digital government reporting service.
Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins said: “Sadly, we know that no sector is immune from the risks of modern slavery which can be hidden in the supply chains of the everyday goods and services we all buy and use.”
“We expect businesses and public bodies to be open about their risks, including where they have found instances of exploitation and to demonstrate how they are taking targeted and sustained action to tackle modern slavery.”
The government has also committed to establishing a single enforcement body for employment rights, to “better protect vulnerable workers and ensure a level playing field for the majority of employers complying with the law”.