UK businesses and public bodies (including colleges) required to produce an annual modern slavery statement are being requested to publish this in a new online registry operated by the Home Office. The Modern Slavery Statement Registry will make it easier for consumers and investors to search for statements, and to compare the actions that organisations subject to the requirements are taking to identify and address the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Publication in the registry is currently voluntary, but the government intends to legislate for mandatory reporting under planned changes to the regime. The government consultation last year confirmed the intention in respect of fines, a mandatory structure for statements, a single reporting deadline of 30 September and a central reporting registry – all of these factors, if made compulsory, would considerably increase the reporting obligations and consequences of non-compliance,
The government has also issued new guidance on publishing a modern slavery statement and submitting it to the registry. Section 54 of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act requires organisations that carry on a business or part of a business in the UK and that provide goods and services to report annually on the steps that they have taken during the financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in their own business or in their supply chains. The requirements apply to organisations with a turnover of £36 million or more, including turnover of subsidiaries.