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28th May 2019

Three steps your business can take to tackle Modern Slavery

In our previous blog, we discussed the challenge in ascertaining a true picture of the number of victims of modern slavery in the UK and the importance of businesses’ recognising it as an issue, in order for them to be able to mitigate that risk. Modern Slavery is a term used in the UK since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA).  The MSA defines slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour as requiring another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that “ the person knows or ought to know” that this is happening. In addition, businesses operating in the UK with a turnover of £36million and above are legally required under the Act to prepare and publish a Modern Slavery statement on their website each financial year; setting out the steps they are taking to address Modern Slavery in their business and their supply chain.

Last month, we outlined the factors identified in the CIOB’s report which contribute to the construction industry being considered a high-risk sector; including complex employment structures, reliance on migrant labour and the temporary nature of work. Due to its high risk nature, UK construction was reported to be the third most common ‘sector/industry’ reported to the Modern Slavery Helpline in 2018 - with just under 1,000 potential victims reported to the helpline over the year. Raising awareness and understanding, improving collaboration across the sector and increasing transparency and capability through the supply chain, will ensure businesses are able to mitigate the risks. In this blog we sign-post some key resources and support to ensure your business is not merely compliant with the MSA but well-placed to develop and implement a proven approach to tackling Modern Slavery.

At Stronger Together we are working with our development partner the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and our programme sponsors Multiplex, Saint-Gobain, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Willmott Dixon, to drive forward industry-wide improvement in tackling Modern Slavery. We work in collaboration with organisations to support them to tackle Modern Slavery in their business and their supply chains.

We have put together three steps you can take to address the risks of Modern Slavery:

1)      Increase your understanding of Modern Slavery Ensure your organisation understands what Modern Slavery is, your responsibilities, how it affects your business and a best practice framework for tackling it – vital for any responsible business. Book onto our one-day construction specific workshop developed with the CIOB and industry experts, designed to equip businesses with the understanding and skills to implement an effective Modern Slavery strategy.

2)      Equip yourself with the tools and resources you need

You can register for free on the Stronger2gether website to download free pragmatic resources, including our Tackling Modern Slavery in Construction Toolkit, worker posters and free templates to support your businesses to tackle Modern Slavery. For those organisations looking for tailored support and detailed guidance, we also offer bespoke support and consultancy.

3)      Implement what you have learnt

Use your acquired knowledge to implement best practice in your business and share your approach across your supply chain. Businesses ready to demonstrate their commitment to tackling Modern Slavery in the construction industry, can also join over 75 other construction businesses in signing theGangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) Construction Protocol.

Organisations who want to take a leadership approach and help shape the Stronger Together Construction programme, are also invited to contact us to find out more about the benefits of becoming a Programme Sponsor.

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