The Government has announced new measures to ensure that the public sector is combatting modern day slavery in its supply chain.
The public sector accounts for approximately £250bn worth of spending per year, however there has been little policy put into place to ensure that modern slavery isn’t involved in the supply of goods and services to the public sector.
Public bodies that have a budget of more than £36m per year, will be made to report back to Government using a new digital reporting service that will launch next year.
The new service will enhance transparency making it easier for consumers, investors and civil society to hold organisations to account for the steps they have taken to root out modern slavery.
Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins said:
“Sadly, we know that no sector is immune from the risks of modern slavery which can be hidden in the supply chains of the everyday goods and services we all buy and use.
“We expect businesses and public bodies to be open about their risks, including where they have found instances of exploitation and to demonstrate how they are taking targeted and sustained action to tackle modern slavery.”
The Local Government Association has issued support for the scheme - Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
“Modern slavery is abhorrent and councils across the country are working hard to help tackle it. This includes trying to eliminate it from their supply chains during the procurement process. This act will help councils to carry out this work.
“It is good that local authorities are included in the new provisions of the Act and their crucial role in combatting modern slavery is recognised. Over two-thirds of ‘in scope’ councils already have modern slavery provisions in place, including voluntarily submitting transparency statements.
“Local government will continue to play its part and work with others to tackle modern slavery in all its forms.”