Modern Slavery Act reporting – a little more guidance from the Home Office for overseas businesses and groups
In March 2019, the Home Office published some further guidance on the requirement to publish a supply chain transparency statement under Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Although much of the guidance will be familiar from the Home Office's statutory guidance document, there are some new points to note for overseas businesses and groups in particular.
The requirement to publish a supply chain transparency statement applies to entities based overseas who carry on a business or part of a business in the UK. The Home Office's statutory guidance notes that in determining this, a "common sense approach" should be taken, but that businesses that do not have a demonstrable business presence in the UK will not be caught. The additional March 2019 guidance goes a little further in setting out 5 specific factors which could indicate that an overseas entity is caught:
- it is registered at UK Companies House
- it has UK offices
- it provides service or support functions in the UK
- it receives income in the UK
- it has other visible UK business presence, for example a website
Many large groups publish one statement for some or all of their affiliates, an approach that is supported by the Home Office's statutory guidance, provided that the statement fully covers the relevant steps taken by each entity that is covered by the statement. The March 2019 guidance advises that a group statement should clearly name the parent and subsidiary organisations it is covering, and that the statement should be published on the UK websites of all of those organisations.
As we reported in November 2018, the Home Office has indicated that it plans to audit all Modern Slavery Act statements from 31 March 2019.