Modern Slavery Act a year on – how have you responded?

11 August 2017

CIPS is surveying buyers to gauge the procurement community’s understanding and ability to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The institute is looking at how buyers engaged with the act in its first year, and how the additional regulations affected businesses. The survey is a follow up to one done at the time the new rules were coming into force.

Gerry Walsh, CIPS interim CEO, said: “The questions we are asking this year reflect some of the changes that have happened since the act came into existence. We want to know what has changed amongst the procurement community, whether professionals need more support to understand what to do.”

The act, which came into force last year, requires all businesses with at UK footprint and a turnover of more than £36m to publish an annual statement, outlining what steps it has taken to identify and reduce the risk of slavery in its supply chain.

With most businesses having filed their first statement, they should be looking at preparing their second.

Last year’s survey found one in five procurement and supply chain managers were unaware of the new rule, and that more than a half said they lacked the necessary skills to deal with modern slavery.

SMEs in particular, which often fall under the reporting threshold, did not know how the new regulations would affect them. “Two thirds of them were unaware that the act would impact on them as larger corporates do deeper dives into their own supply chains,” said Walsh.

“We hope of course to see more understanding and that businesses are indeed complying with the law, but also to see more SMEs contributing to the abolition of slavery by looking closely at their own supply chains,” he added.

The survey also seeks to understand how the global procurement community has responded to the act, as all businesses that are active in the UK fall under its remit.

“This hidden scourge of slavery has gone on for too long,” said Walsh.

The survey takes no more than five minutes and can be completed here.

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