Your organisation and the Modern Slavery Act 2015


23 April 2019

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force on 29 October 2015. This article examines which organisations are affected and what steps needs to be taken.

What is a slavery and human trafficking statement?

A statement confirming the steps taken to ensure there is no modern slavery within a business or its supply chains. 

Is my organisation required to publish a statement? 

Your organisation will be required to prepare a statement if it is a body corporate or a partnership and it supplies goods / services, carries out business in the UK and has an annual global turnover of £36m or more. 

Content of the statement 

The statement will need to disclose either the steps the organisation has taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place, or that the organisation has taken no such steps. 

When does the statement need to be published?

The statement needs to be published each financial year for financial years ending on or after 31 March 2016. The statement should be published within six months of the organisation’s financial year end. 

Where does the statement need to be published? 

If the organisation has a website, a link to the statement must be published in a prominent place on the homepage. If the organisation does not have a website, the organisation must provide a copy of the statement within 30 days of any request received for a copy of it. 
 

Who is responsible for approving and signing the statement? 

Organisation Type Approval Signature
Limited Liability Partnerships Members Designated member
Limited Partnerships (under Limited Partnerships Act 1907) Legislation silent General Partner
Other Partnerships Legislation silent Partner
Other Body Corporate Board of Directors Director (or equivalent)

Legal ramifications of failure to comply

The Secretary of State may seek an injunction requiring the organisation to comply. Failure to comply is punishable by an unlimited fine. 

Steps to consider

Organisations could incorporate contractual obligations in supply contracts requiring suppliers to confirm slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in their business or their supply chains, and to provide details of the steps they have taken to ensure this is the case.
 

Potential impact

Public sector and certain other purchasers of goods / services may increasingly:

  • require compliance with the disclosure requirements as a precondition to supply (e.g. in tender documents and contracts)
  • incorporate contractual obligations in their supply contracts requiring suppliers to confirm slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in their business or their supply chain and provide details of the steps they have taken to ensure this is the case.

For specific enquiries and advice, please contact Heidi Jones on 01245 211279 or a member of Birketts’ corporate and commercial law team.