A recent poll by The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Link (CIPS) revealed that many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are unaware of the UK Modern Slavery Act and the potential impact it can have in their bids and tenders.
The UK Modern Slavery Act aims to prevent forced and child labour by making larger businesses more accountable for the practices of their suppliers. From the 1st
of April 2016, the Act requires businesses with a turnover of £36m or more to make an annual statement, portraying what they have done to tackle any slave and child labour within their supply chains.
David Noble, group CEO of CIPS stated that “to truly eliminate this evil from UK procurement, supply chains need to be mapped and simple measures put in place. Partnerships between larger corporations and smaller SMEs will be instrumental in driving out malpractice in the supply chain. The legal duty in the Act must not override the moral obligation of us all to make sure our supply chains are slavery-free.”
CIPS acknowledged that smaller businesses may not have the same resources as larger companies to tackle potential problems. However, they have stated that there are simple steps SMEs can take to protect their business.
- Ensuring all UK workers are in receipt of the minimum wage and robust immigration checks are in place
- Mapping supply chains to understand where the highest risk of slavery is
- Undertaking site inspections
- Providing training to workers and local suppliers on modern slavery risks and compliance
- Reviewing supplier contracts and including obligations to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act
- Publishing a statement outlining the steps being taken to tackle modern slavery.
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