Government Publishes Response to Independent Review of Modern Slavery Act 2015

10 Jul

In July 2018, the Government commissioned Frank Field MP, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss to undertake an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.  The Act, which is claimed by the Home Office to have been the first of its kind in the world gave new powers and tools to law enforcement  agencies to disrupt perpetrators.  The number of police operations has risen from under 200 in 2016 to over 1,400 in June 2019.

Their final report was laid in Parliament on 22 May 2019 and contained numerous recommendations.

The review considered the role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, transparency in supply chains, Independent Child Trafficking Advocates and legal application of the Modern Slavery Act.

The Government have now published their response and accepted the majority of recommendations made by the Independent Review including the following request that the Government:

“make the necessary legislative provisions to strengthen its approach to tackling non-compliance [with section 54 of the Act], adopting a gradual approach: initial warnings, fines (as a percentage of turnover), court summons and directors’ disqualification. Sanctions should be introduced gradually over the next few years so as to give companies time to adapt to changes in the legislative requirements.”

To this end, alongside the Government’s response they have  launched a consultation on transparency in supply chains which will run until 17th September 2019.  The proposed measures are intended, the Home Office states, to increase transparency and compliance, improve reporting quality and extend the scope of the legislation.

We shall keep you updated.

Law correct at the date of publication.
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