Expert Lawyer Says Businesses Must Act Now
The Government has published its final report following on from the Independent Review into the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
In short conclusions are that:
- There is a lack of compliance (with 40% of companies still not having a compliant modern slavery statement or one at all)
- There has been no enforcement action for lack of compliance and that enforcement powers need to be strengthened
- A body to be set up specifically to enforce non-compliance
- A recommendation for the 6 reporting areas in the guidance to be mandatory
- A recommendation that the Companies Act 2006 should be amended to include a requirement for companies to refer to their modern slavery statement in their annual reports.
- A recommendation that a failure to fulfil modern slavery statement reporting requirements or to act when instances of slavery are found should be an offence under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.
The Government will be publishing the scope and timeframes for a public consultation on proposed legislative changes to achieve these recommendations in the coming months.
Expert Opinion“The take away is to act now as the Government is going to step up its efforts to enforce and whereas there are no criminal offences for non-compliance with reporting obligations at present, this could be about to change.” Craig Weston - Barrister & Senior Associate
Irwin Mitchell’s Regulatory and Criminal Investigations Group advises on supply chain transparency issues including effective due diligence, third party on boarding, risk mapping and in assisting with the drafting of modern slavery statements. Comprehensive board and wider employee training on the issue are also offered.