The Modern Slavery Act 2015 consolidates existing UK legislation on slavery, child labour and human trafficking and defined slavery (which includes servitude and forced and compulsory labour) as existing when a person is "held" or "forced" against their will by another person who knows or ought to know that the other person is being held in slavery or servitude or forced to perform compulsory labour. It introduced an Anti-Slavery Commissioner, new measures to protect victims and stiffer penalties for those convicted.
More controversially the Act also included a requirement for commercial organisations to report on what they are doing to combat slavery – the Section 54 ‘Transparency in Supply Chains’ Statement, sometimes called a Modern Slavery Statement.
These resources created by the Business Law department and Business and Management Faculty are to support members looking to prepare a Modern Slavery Statement for the first time or to update their existing statement.
This guide is an introduction to the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It explains some of the key definitions and requirements that are relevant to ICAEW members and member firms. It is not a definitive guide and it does not constitute legal advice. If in doubt members are advised to seek specialist and independent legal advice.
The long awaited, government run central registry for modern slavery statements has now been launched. Organisations can add their own statement to the registry and find out what other organisations are doing to eliminate modern slavery from their operations and supply chains.
Based on a review of modern slavery statements published in previous years, this guide highlights some of the common errors and omissions as well as showing some examples of good and bad practice.
Under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 some organisations have to prepare a section 54 Transparency in Supply Chains Statement This guide is an introduction to the legal requirements and a brief overview of what to include, when and where the statement should be published.
The Modern Slavery Act: It doesn't apply to my organisation, or does it?
2016 webinar on the consequences of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 for businesses and organisations.
Modern slavery: preparing a s54 statement – a case study
In this webinar from March 2021, Pentland Brands explains its approach to preparing a section 54 statement, including how this has evolved over the years and the challenges faced.
Useful sources of information
- The Modern Slavery Act 2015
- Government Guidance – Transparency in Supply Chains etc. A Practical Guide
- Government’s Response to the Transparency In Supply Chains Consultation published 22 September 2020.
- Global Slavery Index and Anti-Slavery International – both have useful indicators of high risk countries and industry sectors.
- National Crime Agency – useful for indicators and cases of modern slavery in the UK.
- The Modern Slavery Registry – maintains a register of all published modern slavery statements as well as analysis of the statements made by FTSE100 companies (useful to see what is good and bad practice).
- Business and Human Rights Resource Centre – monitors cases against companies and organisations for abuses of human rights.
- CORE – works on corporate responsibility and publishes a number of guides on this subject.
Preparing a s54 statement
In this webinar Pentland Brands explains its approach to preparing a section 54 statement and how it has evolved over time.Watch now
Why modern slavery matters
A short video explaining what modern slavery is and why it should matter to every large and medium-sized businessView now
Section 54 (Modern Slavery Statement) Checklist
A checklist of the key questions to ask when preparing a Modern Slavery Statement.
Section 54 Case Study
How one company prepared their first Modern Slavery Statement and the lessons learned.