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14 March 2018

Modern Slavery Act, why act now?

Passed in 2015, the Modern Slavery Act affects your business whether large, small, in between or as part of a supply chain. In Autumn 2017 the Home Office updated its guidance on such statements (and also set out current best practice).

  • Large commercial organisations with a turnover in excess of £36m must prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement – a link to which must appear on the homepage of the organisation’s website.
  • Organisations under £36m are encouraged by the new guidance voluntarily to produce a statement.
  • Organisations as part of a supply chain are being asked for their statements by larger organisations to win work.

Failure to have an appropriate statement in place where legally required to have one could lead to an injunction being obtained against the organisation. However social pressure and a desire to avoid adverse viral publicity is likely to work as an incentive for many organisations rather than government intervention.

Statements where turnover exceeds £36m

Those organisations which already produce a statement should ensure that their next statement complies with the new guidance, taking into account that the government expects statements to show year on year improvements. Those organisations which have grown and now exceed the £36m turnover figure will need to prepare a statement for the first time. 

Statements where turnover is less than £36m

All organisations are encouraged to produce a statement but many companies are noticing that larger organisations now ask them as suppliers for copies of their statements or policies. This is particularly the case where large supply chains are involved. Failure to have a policy could result in not winning a contract.

Contractual provisions

All organisations (but particularly those who need to produce a statement) should consider including provisions in commercial agreements to ensure compliance with their policies by their suppliers.

How we can help

We can:

  • Assist you in reviewing and updating your statement (if you already have one);
  • Provide wording for inclusion in your commercial agreements to ensure that you do everything possible to comply with your policy;
  • Help you determine whether you must produce a statement and, if so, help you to produce the statement;
  • Assist in the drafting of a policy.

David Smellie, partner in the corporate and commercial team, has advised many businesses on compliance with the Modern Slavery Act. If you would like assistance, please call 01753 279022 or email

David Smellie

David Smellie

Tel: 01753 279034 | 07922 653954

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