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How to Comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act: Requirements for Businesses

The UK’s 2015 Modern Slavery Act sets out legal requirements for organisations to address and report on modern slavery. Learn what these are and how to meet them with Sedex. 

This law applies to any company doing business in the UK with an annual turnover of £36 million GBP or more. The requirements apply to companies’ own operations and the risks of modern slavery in supply chains. 

There are two main parts to the UK Modern Slavery Act’s requirements: 

  1. Take action to identify, prevent and mitigate modern slavery in your operations and supply chains. 
  1. Publish an annual statement to report on these actions – within six months of your company’s financial year-end. 

In 2020 the UK government committed to some new requirements for the Modern Slavery Act. These include businesses covering specific things in their modern slavery statements, and publishing their statements on a new government platform. Many of the new requirements will be mandatory once the UK Parliament approves the changes to the Act, though this approval is currently delayed. 

Need help with sustainability legislation? Our Consulting Team offers bespoke support and legislation mapping. 

Updates to the UK Modern Slavery Act: what will businesses need to do? 

Based on what the UK government has previously announced:  

  • Businesses with a turnover of more than £36 million and public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more will need to publish an annual modern slavery statement. 
  • Statements will need to explain steps taken that year to identify, prevent and mitigate modern slavery in organisations’ operations and their supply chains. 
  • Statements will need to cover actions in six specific areas. Currently, these are “recommended” areas to include, but will become legal requirements: 
  • Organisation and supply chain structure 
  • Policies on modern slavery and human trafficking 
  • Modern slavery due diligence processes 
  • Risk assessment and management 
  • Actions taken to prevent forced labour and other forms of modern slavery (including measurement against performance indicators to measure how effective these have been) 
  • Training on modern slavery and human trafficking. 

If an organisation is unable to report on any area, they’ll have to include an explanation on why this is the case. 

  • Organisations will need to publish their statements by 30 September each year, on the UK government’s online registry. Statements will have to include the date of corporate board approval and director sign-off. 
  • Group statements will need to identify every entity within the remit of the UK Act, or within the remit of the Group. 

How Sedex can help your business meet modern slavery laws 

Sedex Consulting can support your business with your responsible sourcing programme, complying with legislation and more. This support is tailored to your business’s needs. Learn more from your Sedex Account Manager, or contact the Consulting team. 

We can help your company identify, address and report on modern slavery in your operations and supply chain, with different Sedex tools for the different activities required by this Act. This enables you to protect your business, comply with modern slavery laws and protect workers from this form of exploitation. 


Statement requirement Actions you take Sedex solutions 
  Organisation structure and supply chain Join Sedex Sedex Platform – the world’s leading software platform for supply chain sustainability data, assessment and analysis. 
Map your supply chain, including beyond your direct (Tier 1) suppliers Connect with other Sedex customers to build multi-tier visibility of your supply chain – including site locations, workforce profiles and the suppliers for each component of your products and services. Our Supplier Engagement Service helps bring more of your suppliers into the Sedex ecosystem to gather key sustainability data from them. 
Risk assessment and management Identify the parts of your  business supply chain where modern slavery risks are highest Our risk assessment tool enables you to conduct a global risk assessment of your business and supply chain.  Use pre-screen reports to identify and compare risks across the world, by country and sector. You can also see if activities or products in certain countries have a higher risk of forced or child labour.  Ask your suppliers to complete a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) to gather more information on operational activities associated with modern slavery risks – such as use of labour providers and payment of recruitment fees.  Assess and prioritise where to take action using risk scores, which combine trusted data on country and sector risks with information from your suppliers’ profiles, site information and audits.  
Actions taken to prevent modern slavery in own operations and supply chain Take action to reduce the likelihood of modern slavery happening; seek to stop the exploitation and provide remedy to victims where it has occurred. Set and track key performance indicators to assess how effective the actions taken are.  Key performance indicators (KPIs) help you to measure the effectiveness of actions taken to address modern slavery.  The data in the Sedex Platform and our reporting tools help you measure and track your KPIs. Examples include: the number of non-compliances related to forced labour (including indicators of forced labour) in audits; percentage of closed audit non-compliances related to forced labour; worker feedback on working conditions. 

Learn more about the UK Modern Slavery Act and how Sedex helps businesses comply with it.