Local Authorities Reporting under the MSA: New Study

Screenshot report.png

We are pleased to present our lastest study: UK Modern Slavery Act Transparency in Supply Chains: Reporting by Local Authorities. BHRE Research Series. Report 2. March 2018, writen by Olga Martin-Ortega, Anna Gorna and Rahima Islam. In the Report we present the findings of the qualitative analysis of the statements produced by local authorities from the time of the enactment of the UK Modern Slavery Act up to 31st January 2018, and thus, covering the financial years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. For the first year of reporting we found and analysied 16 statements, whilst during the second year of reporting our sample included 29 statements produeced by 33 Councils.

Local authorities are not covered by the government’s definition of commercial organisation and so are under no obligation to publish statements on compliance with the MSA. However, some local authorities have demonstrated awareness and ethical leadership by having voluntarily published statements. 

Our report contains examples of good practice which we hope will be useful for Councils in their future endeavors to combat modern slavery and also encorage local authorities which have not published a statement yet to do so in the coming years.

To access the report follow this link. To read our blog about reporting by local authorities click here. For more information on our work on Modern Slavery and Public Procurement click here.

We are grateful to Guy Head for his comments to the previous versions of this report. All mistakes remain ours.


Collaboration, Due Diligence and Leverage in the Electronics Industry- New article in the Business and Human Rights Journal

Our new article is now out! "Public Procurement as a Tool for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights: a Study of Collaboration, Due Diligence and Leverage in the Electronics Industry" by Olga Martin-Ortega has been published by the Business and Human Rights Journal.

This article explores the innovative use of public procurement as a tool to respect, protect and promote human rights by capitalizing on the significant leverage that public buyers have over corporate practices in their supply chain. It provides an analysis of Electronics Watch, an organization that focuses on the role of states’ own procurement practices as central to the state duty to protect the human rights of those who are affected by its activities as an economic actor. Through the assessment of the Electronics Watch model this article argues that by bringing together the economic leverage of public buyers and corporate human rights due diligence, one can create transformative tools for the improvement of working conditions in global supply chains.

Many thanks to all our colleagues at Electronics Watch for their help and amazing work they do! 

The article is now available as First View at the Business and Human Rights Journal

Advancing Respect for Labour Rights Globally through Public Procurement

Our latest article on public procurement "Advancing Respect for Labour Rights Globally through Public Procurement" has been published on Cogitatio Press.

In this article, the authors Olga Martin-Ortega and Claire Methven O'Brien explore that governments are mega-consumers of many manufactured products and services. As such they should in principle be able to influence workers’ rights abroad via the terms of purchase contracts. Yet to date little attention has been paid to the potential of public procurement to promote respect for labour rights globally besides the international trade law framework. Building on a limited emerging scholarship and policy developments, this article addresses this gap. Section 2 considers legal definitions of public procurement and distinguishes primary and secondary aims of procurement under key international and regional procurement regimes. This highlights that, although historically used to advance labour rights domestically, these regimes have restricted public buyers’ scope to advance labour rights beyond national borders. Section 3 explores new international policy frameworks on responsible global value chains and supply chains which by contrast appear to augur the greater use of public procurement to promote labour rights globally in future. Section 4 argues, supported by analysis of the limited examples available, that public buying has the potential to positively influence enjoyment of labour rights in practice. Concluding, Section 5 reflects on what the more specific impacts of public procurement in this context may be, and how public buying should complement other mechanisms for improving labour conditions across supply chains, such as social clauses in trade agreements. Finally, we outline issues for further research and the future policy agenda.

The full article is available here and is free to download.