Ended with Response
Ended with Response

Consultation on transparency in supply chains in the Modern Slavery Bill

About this consultation

This consultation is seeking to determine what figure should be used to set the minimum total turnover for reporting organisations and also, the content of statutory guidance. The Government intends that organisations of a certain turnover carrying out any part of their business in the UK will disclose what they are doing to ensure such slavery does not occur anywhere in the entirety of their organisations. They don’t need a certain level of UK ‘footprint’ – just any part of their business taking place in the UK.


Modern slavery is a broad term used to cover offences of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking. The new Modern Slavery Bill will consolidate existing slavery and human trafficking offences into one Act; increase maximum sentence to life imprisonment; introduce new civil orders to manage those who may otherwise cause slavery-related harm; and create a new independent Anti-slavery Commissioner.

The new Bill has also been amended to include a new clause on ‘transparency in supply chains’. The aim is to require all businesses over a certain size (prescribed turnover) to disclose what steps they have taken to ensure their business and supply chain are slavery-free. Guidance will be provided to help businesses understand what sort of information they should include in disclosures.

Proposed changes

A commercial organisation with a prescribed total turnover will be required to prepare a ‘slavery and human trafficking statement’ for each financial year, stating the steps taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking in any of its supply chains or in any part of its own business (or else, stating that no such steps have been taken).

A ‘commercial organisation’ here means a body corporate or partnership (wherever incorporated or formed) which carries on a business, or part of a business, in the UK.

The Government intends 5 areas should generally be included in statements, as follows:

  1. A brief description of an organisation's business model and supply chain relationships.
  2. A business’s policies relating to modern slavery, including due diligence and auditing processes implemented.
  3. Training available and provided to those in supply chain management and the rest of the organisation.
  4. The principal risks related to slavery and human trafficking including how the organisation evaluates and manages those risks in their organisation and their supply chain.
  5. Relevant key performance indicators, depending on the circumstances of the business (i.e. KPIs to assist readers of statements to assess the effectiveness of the activities described in them and demonstrate change year-on-year).

The Government also intends to include an additional provision requiring those responsible for businesses (such as company boards and directors) to sign their slavery and trafficking statements.

Though it is possible for businesses to comply with the transparency provision by simply stating they have taken no steps in the financial year to ensure their business and supply chain are slavery-free – the Government highlight that they may be subject to scrutiny and public pressure, which could jeopardise both their reputation and profit.

The transparency clause requires companies to include a link to their statement in a prominent place on their homepage. If they don’t have a website, they must provide a copy of their statement within 30 days to anyone who makes a written request for one.

Consultation questions

  1. What level of turnover threshold do you think would be the most appropriate threshold for requiring a business to make a slavery and human trafficking statement?
  2. Please explain your answer.
  3. To what extent do you agree that there should be a higher turnover threshold set initially to focus on larger businesses and then reduce the threshold to cover more businesses, over time? (Strongly agree / Agree / Neither agree or disagree / Disagree / Strongly disagree)
  4. Please explain your answer.
  5. For each of the following headings to what extent do you agree that the activities we think should be included in a statement are the right ones? (Strongly agree / Agree / Neither agree or disagree / Disagree / Strongly disagree)
    i. Information about an organisation’s structure, business and supply chains
    ii. Information about an organisation’s polices on modern slavery
    iii. Information about an organisation’s due diligence processes in relation to modern slavery in its business and supply chains
    iv. Information about the parts of an organisation’s business and its supply chains where there is a risk of modern slavery taking place, and the steps it has taken to assess and manage that risk
    v. Information about an organisation’s effectiveness in ensuring that modern slavery is not taking place in its business or supply chains, measured against such performance indicators as it considers appropriate
    vi. Information about the training on modern slavery available to its staff
  6. For each of the headings above please explain your responses, and set out (a) what information you think companies should disclose about their activities in these areas and (b) what you think would represent good practice in each of these areas?
  7. Are there any other areas of activity that you think a slavery and human trafficking statement should cover? Yes – please specify / No / Don’t know
    If ‘yes’ to Q7
  8. What would good practice look like in the areas you have suggested?
  9. Are there any specific areas of activity that you think businesses in certain sectors should disclose? (Yes – please specify sector and area of activity / No / Don’t know)
    If ‘yes’ to Q9
  10. What would good practice look like in the areas you have suggested?
  11. To what extent do you agree or disagree that any guidance the Government publishes should include the following aspects in relation to making a slavery and human trafficking statement? (Strongly agree / Agree / Neither agree or disagree / Disagree / Strongly disagree)
    i. Advice on publishing a statement online
    ii. Advice about when to publish a statement
    iii. Advice about the signing of a statement
    iv. Advice on what to do if you suspect or identify slavery in your supply chain
  12. What would good practice look like in relation to publishing a statement online?
  13. What would good practice look like in relation to the timing of publishing a statement?
  14. What would good practice look like in relation to the signing of a slavery and trafficking statement by the business or organisation?
  15. Do you have any further comments on what the statutory guidance should include?