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Modern slavery statements – ready, steady, publish?

For each financial year ending on or after 31 March 2016, organisations with an annual turnover of at least £36 million are required, under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the Act), to publish a modern slavery statement. The Act does not give a strict deadline for publishing such a statement; however, the government has provided the following guidance:

“We expect organisations to publish their statements as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of each financial year in which they are producing the statement.

Organisations may well choose to publish the statement alongside any other annual or non-financial reports they are required to produce. In practice, we would encourage organisations to report within six months of the organisation’s financial year end.”

This six-month guideline means that the government envisages that organisations with financial years ending on 30 March 2016, should ideally be thinking about publishing their first statements by 30 September 2016. Whilst the government has opted for the light-touch approach by not imposing strict deadlines in the Act itself, organisations should be alert to the fact that publication of their statements should not be delayed indefinitely.

Modern slavery statements – ready, steady, publish?