Modern slavery in supply chains

Councils are uniquely placed to be at the forefront of the fight against modern slavery, and are demonstrating awareness and ethical leadership by voluntarily completing modern slavery transparency statements.


Procurement of services is an important part of councils’ expenditure with, local government third party revenue expenditure totaling around £60 billion a year. Understanding our supply chains and assessing the risk to those working in it is not easy and requires commitment, support and collaboration.

The Transparency in Supply Chains Provision (TISC, s.54) of the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) requires commercial entities with an annual turnover of £36m or more to report annually on their actions to identify, prevent and mitigate modern slavery in their supply chain.

Councils are currently under no legal obligation to publish statements in compliance with the Section 54 provision. However, they are uniquely placed to be at the forefront of the fight against modern slavery and 86 councils have already voluntarily compiled theirs. The LGA is encouraging others to follow suit with a range of guidance and support for those wishing to submit a statement, including a simple aide memoire and a dynamic list of links to published council transparency statements.

Protecting human rights in the supply chain: free e-learning for public procurement

London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC), in collaboration with our partner consortium APUC and the University of Greenwich, has developed an eLearning suite on Protecting Human Rights in the Supply Chain, developed especially for public procurement practitioners. Users will learn why protecting human rights in the supply chain is important to the public sector, how to assess and prioritise risks, monitoring supply chains, responding to abuses and measuring and reporting effectiveness. There’s also a module on compiling your annual Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement under the Modern Slavery Act. The suite was written by Dr Olga Martin-Ortega, Reader in Public International Law and leader of the Business, Human Rights and Environment Research Group at the University of Greenwich and LUPC Director, Andy Davies FCIPS. You can access the eLearning suite, for free, by registering.

Other useful resources

Training and e-learning

Notes

According to global slavery statistics an estimated 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016, a quarter of them children.

Home Office figures suggest there are up to 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK other sources suggest this is significantly higher. Slavery in the supply chain is an abuse of human rights in the pursuit of profits and the public sector has a moral duty not to indulge or tolerate it, whether deliberately or ignorantly.

The Government has not been prescriptive about the layout or specific content to be included in transparency statements. It is for this reason that the LGA does not encourage the use of templates which could lead to replicated homogenous statements or become a tick-box exercise. Instead we advocate councils take ownership, it is up to councils how you present information in the statement and how much detail you provide. 

If councils want a supply chain that reflects the values of its residents they need to work towards improving transparency in its supply chains and acquiring goods and services without causing harm to others.