Introduction to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 for Recruitment Agencies

Modern Slavery Act Introduction header

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was enacted to help combat modern slavery and requires some commercial organisations to produce statements outlining their efforts to fight modern slavery and to be transparent about their supply chains. But what does this mean for recruitment agencies?

What is the Modern Slavery Act 2015?

The Act was enacted to fight modern slavery. Section 54 of the Act requires some commercial organisations to produce an annual statement outlining their efforts to combat modern slavery. Organisations that fail to comply with Section 54 requirements face possible injunctions against their operations and unlimited fines.

Under the Act, organisations must produce a transparency in supply chains statement (TSCS) if they:

  • Are a ‘body corporate’ or partnership, wherever incorporated;
  • Carry on a business, or part of a business, in the United Kingdom;
  • Supply goods or services; and
  • Have an annual turnover of £36 million or more.

What is a Transparency in Supply Chains Statement (TSCS)?

The Act requires an annual TSCS to dissuade organisations from ignoring potential modern slavery issues that may exist or can develop within their supply chains. For this reason, TSCS responsibility extends not only within each organisation, but also throughout that organisation’s supply chain.

Publishing a TSCS is not a guarantee that the organisation’s entire supply chain is slavery free. Instead, producing a TSCS is an assertion that the organisation is aware of what modern slavery is, a recognition of where it can occur within its supply chain and, when appropriate, a description of what the organisation is doing to prevent it, reduce it or eliminate it.

What does the Modern Slavery Act mean for Recruitment Agencies?

Recruitment agencies who work (or aspire to work) with clients who have a turnover of over £36 million (and who doesn’t aspire to work with large organisations like that!) need to be aware of the impact that the Modern Slavery Act 2015 may have on the tender process and any agency agreements or contracts that are in place.

Because these organisations are required to report on their awareness and prevention of modern slavery in their supply chain, it is likely that any affected organisations – and possibly many smaller organisations who are also complying with the rules – will ask for Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking statements or policies from recruitment agencies before engaging them to source candidates or temporary workers. It is advisable that you have these researched, written and ready should your clients request them!

Further Guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/modern-slavery-bill

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/471996/Transparency_in_Supply_Chains_etc__A_practical_guide__final_.pdf

REC Member Guidance: https://www.rec.uk.com/rec-document-library/policy-and-campaigns/REC-Policy-Briefing_Transparency-in-Supply-Chains-Reporting_01-10-15.pdf