All eyes might be on Brexit day at the end of this month, but there is another event that could also have a significant impact on supply chains.
The report of the government’s independent review of the Modern Slavery Act is due to be published at the end of the month.
The government commissioned Frank Field MP, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss to carry out the review with the aim of strengthening current legislation as modern slavery evolves.
Already they have delivered some interim conclusions – notably regarding the transparency of supply chains.
It says: “It is clear the current approach, while a step forward, is not sufficient and it is time for the Government to take tougher action to ensure companies are taking seriously their responsibilities to eradicate modern slavery from their supply chains.”
It recommends that companies should be required to have a named designated board member who is personally accountable for the production of the company’s modern slavery statement. And failure to fulfil reporting requirements should be an offence.
The interim review also recommends that the government should bring forward proposals to set up an enforcement body to impose sanctions on non-compliant companies.
Clearly, we will have to wait for publication of the final report to see if these recommendations are confirmed, but the expectation must be that the regime is going to get significantly tougher.
And if that happens then it is supply chain professionals who will be first in the firing line.