The UK government is keen to strengthen its measures under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA 2015) to ensure that modern slavery is not taking place in the UK and those areas where all UK-related businesses are concerned worldwide.  These include body corporates and partnerships where their business (or part of their business) supply goods and/or services in the UK, and their supply chains anywhere around the globe.

Group’s annual turnover of £36 million or more?

Currently the legal requirement of publishing an annual statement is limited to those whose annual turnover is £36 million or more.

Your business may not be entirely based in the UK.

But if your organisation has a demonstrative business presence in the UK and it has the annual turn over (including those operating wholly outside the UK) of £36 million or more and meets the other criteria, you should publish your anti-slavery statement every year.

Demonstrative business presence in the UK?

The UK government guidance sets out the examples of the factors for you to consider so that you can determine whether or not your organisation has a “demonstrative business presence”, as follows:-

  • It is registered at UK Companies House;
  • It has UK offices;
  • It provides services or support functions in the UK;
  • It receives income in the UK;
  • It has other visible UK business presence – for example a website.

Other issues to consider for your group & holding companies

It may be that your corporate group may have more than one subsidiary organisation which meets the criteria for publishing the anti-slavery statement under the MSA 2015.  Subsidiary organisations can choose to publish separate statements, or the group can publish one statement covering all the organisations.

If your group chooses to publish one statement, your anti-slavery statement:-

  • Must cover the steps taken to prevent modern slavery in ALL the organisations within your group and your supply chains;
  • Should clearly name the parent and subsidiary organisations it is covering; and
  • Should be published on the UK websites of all the organisations covered by the statement; and
  • (if you so wish) can add your most recent anti-slavery statement to the UK government registry.

Your holding company might not itself provide goods or services and hence it might consider that it would not meet the criteria for publishing a statement under the MSA 2015.  But you should note that any organisation within your holding company’s corporate structure that meet the criteria must publish a statement.

Demonstrate compliance!

The minimum legal requirements under the MSA 2015 are:-

  • To assess, each year, whether your organisation meet the criteria for the preceding financial year, and to publish an anti-slavery statement within 6 months of your organisation’s financial year end (and to get signed off to show that the statement has board/members’ approval);
  • To place the link on a prominent place for your anti-slavery statement on your homepage (if you do not have a website, you are to provide a copy of the statement in writing within 30 days of receiving the request from anyone who requests your statement); and
  • That your statement should cover the following 6 areas:-
    • (i) Organisation structure and supply chains;
    • (ii) policies in relation to slavery and human trafficking;
    • (iii) Due diligence processes;
    • (iv) Risk assessment and management;
    • (v) Key performance indicators to measure effectives of steps being taken; and
    • (vi) Training on modern slavery and trafficking.

Your corporate group might need to re-assess its situation and determine whether or not it need to publish your anti-slavery statement within the required time period.

If your corporate organisations are Japan-based, and your corporate documents are written in Japanese, Mayumi Hawkes can assist you on this and discuss your requirements.