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Human Trafficking and Slavery is a problem that has increasing come to the forefront of our consciousness over the last few years. In September 2013, the UK Government published an action plan to reduce it within the UK. The result: the Modern Slavery Act 2015 which was brought into force on 29th October 2015.
Any commercial organisation supplying goods and services within the UK, and which has a global turnover of 36 million pounds or more, is required to produce a statement in each financial year detailing the steps taken within the previous year to ensure that modern slavery is not taking place within their supply chain.
Whilst the larger motoring organisations and groups are likely to be aware of this requirement, all members need to consider whether they need to produce a statement.
Here are a few definitions
Commercial Organisation– means a body corporate, or a partnership, wherever incorporated that carries on business or a part of its business in the UK
Turnover– for the purposes of the act the turnover is defined as “The amount derived from the provision of goods and services… after the deduction of trade discounts, VAT and any other taxes on those goods and services.” . This includes the turnover of any subsidiaries.
The important aspect here is the fact that any calculation of turnover should include not only subsidiaries but also activities outside of the UK. Only a small proportion of an organisations turnover may be within the UK. However, if turnover globally is £36 million or more then a statement is required.
The Act does not prescribe the form the statement must take, but it does include what it has to contain:
Statutory guidance has been produced to help organisations identify what matters under points (a) to (f) above could be included in their statements.
What to do next
The precise level of information and style of the statements is still fluid. The larger organisation are already starting to produce the statements, so these can be used as a guide, notable examples include Tesco, Nestle and Apple.
If your organisation has a turnover of £36 million or more than a statement is required. We have produced a precedent statement that can be used by members as a base.
This advice is general in nature and it will need to be tailored to any one particular situation. As an RMI member you have access to the RMI legal advice line, as well as a number of industry experts for your assistance. We have produced a precedent statement that can be made available to members as an aid to producing your own. Should you find yourself in the situation above, contact us at any stage for advice and assistance as appropriate.
Paul Carroll, Solicitor, Motor Industry Legal Services