On 22 September 2020, the UK Government published its response to a 2019 consultation on potential options for strengthening section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the MSA), which requires certain commercial organisations to publish a slavery and human trafficking (SHT) statement on an annual basis.

Of most interest to businesses will be the UK Government’s commitment to amend section 54(5) of the MSA such that the matters to be addressed in an organisation’s SHT statement are mandatory. Also significant will be the introduction of a single reporting deadline (30 September) and a UK Government run reporting service.

A number of the proposed changes will align the MSA more closely with the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018, and are intended to facilitate scrutiny and comparison of SHT statements by civil society, investors and other stakeholders.

Further information can be found in our briefing note, here.