On 11 March 2021, the Home Office launched an online registry for slavery and human trafficking (SHT) statements. This follows the Government’s response in September 2020 to a 2019 public consultation on potential options for strengthening section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the MSA), which requires certain commercial organisations to publish an SHT statement on an annual basis.
The aim of the introduction of an online registry is to improve transparency and accessibility by bringing SHT statements together in one place and making it easier for civil society, investors and other stakeholders to find and compare them. All organisations are strongly encouraged to submit their most recently published SHT statement on the registry to demonstrate that they have adhered to the section 54 reporting requirements.
The Home Office has separately advised that if an organisation is required to produce an SHT statement under section 54 of the MSA, in future it will be mandatory for the organisation to submit its statement to the registry. This is one of a number of changes proposed by the Government to strengthen the MSA’s reporting requirements.
For a summary and analysis of the Government’s broader proposals for strengthening the MSA, which will be implemented “as soon as parliamentary time allows”, see our previous article here.
The authors would like to thank Fran Garvey, trainee, for her assistance in preparing this blog post.