Kathy Betteridge of The Salvation Army said the charity worked hard to ensure supply chains were clear of slavery © Adam King
Kathy Betteridge of The Salvation Army said the charity worked hard to ensure supply chains were clear of slavery © Adam King

Compliance list aims to raise the bar on slavery reporting

17 October 2019

The Transparency In Supply Chains Report (TISCreport) has revealed a list of 1,013 best-performing companies to help raise the bar for others. 

For UK Anti-Slavery Day (Friday 18 October), TISCreport has released the Companies in Compliance List so “companies that are unsure of the minimum compliance criteria” can learn from others on how they can improve their modern slavery statement.

An assessment in July revealed that only 8.7% of companies required by the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) to complete statements have met minimum compliance criteria, according to TISCreport.

The compliance list includes well-known brands, such as ASOS, Next, Burberry, John Lewis Partnership, Amey, Skanska, ASDA, Samsung Electronics, and Honda. 

Andrew Wallis, CEO at Anti-Slavery charity Unseen, said: “It is staggering that such a small number of companies have complied with the law of the land when it comes to disclosing the measures they are taking to tackle modern slavery in their supply chains and business practices.

“The law was designed to encourage businesses to begin to proactively engage with the issues, level the playing field so that all businesses would respond, encourage innovation in their responses to the issue and disclose what they were doing to tackle forced labour exploitation.” 

The TISCreport used an AI audit system to test the companies required to report under Section 54 of the MSA against compliance criteria.

The AI technology is effective at reviewing modern slavery reports with 98.8% accuracy, and “enables more focus on assessing quality rather than just tick box compliance”.

Jaya Chakrabarti, CEO at TISCreport, a social enterprise, and member of the Home Office Transparency in Supply Chains Modern Slavery Strategy & Implementation Group, said “good compliance must lead to effective action” because meeting compliance criteria is not enough to make an impact. 

“We hope to make technical compliance headaches disappear using technology, so that companies can start to focus on the actions that really matter. If we’re going to save lives with Section 54, we all need to think outside the tick box,” she added.

Separately, The Salvation Army held a supplier conference focusing on raising awareness of modern slavery in supply chains. 

Modern slavery prevention and awareness was “one of the pillars” that was put in place when The Salvation Army officially set up a procurement department three years ago and centralised their supply chain, according to Andrew Roper, procurement director.

Roper said: “We take the risk assessment approach of looking at what’s the potential risk, in terms of the likelihood of there being slavery in the supply chain. We look at the areas where there’s high risk and we have a high ability to impact on it, and then categorise our spend on that area.

“To supply to an organisation like The Salvation Army you have to be expecting these kinds of questions. We also provide guidance to our suppliers, such as training materials, especially to agencies and cleaning contractors, as this is where we see some of the highest risk.” 

Kathy Betteridge, director of anti-trafficking and modern slavery at The Salvation Army, said: “Part of the Modern Slavery Act that was introduced in 2015 was to identify and enforce suppliers who had a turnover of over £36m to have a modern slavery statement on their website and be very aware of the supply chain that they’re using.

“We’ve been very aware and so has the government to make sure that the supply chain and the services that we as a Salvation Army and others provide and access are clear of any slavery.”

The Salvation Army provides specialist services for potential victims of slavery or trafficking by working with 12 other sub-contractors. This includes safehouse accommodation, outreach support, medical treatment, translation support, and legal advice.

The charity has been managing the government contract since 2011, which is now coming up for re-tender.

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