Universities reporting under the UK Modern Slavery Act: New Report published

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The BHRE has published its new report on Universities reporting under the Modern Slavery Act. This report analyses the Slavery and Human Trafficking statements published by universities for the financial year 2016-2017 (and published up to 31ST May 2018). Our research for this report has undertaken a qualitative analysis of statements released by 98 universities (including two university hospitals) which are obliged to produce a statement under s.54. These include:

·       69 statements produced by universities reporting for the second time, and

·        29 by universities reporting for the first time.

In our previous report (“UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 Transparency in Supply Chains: The First Year of Reporting by Universities”, BHRE Research Series, Report 1. August 2017) we analysed the statements produced for the financial year 2015-2016 (up to 31st January 2017).

The deadline to publish the 2016/2017 statement was, for most universities, 31st January 2018, six months after the end of the financial year. Our research was conducted in two phases. Firstly, we analysed 63 statements published up to 31st January 2018. In May 2018, with the help of the Higher Education Procurement Association (HEPA) we analysed a further 34 statements, which had been published after the deadline. The increase of reporting was due, in part, to the featuring of our research in Research Professional (see Universities Failing to Disclose Slavery Risks, 19th February) and HEPA´s communications to universities regarding their modern slavery reporting obligations. 

Including the first and the second year of reporting and the second and first statements produced by all those which reported, we have analysed 156 statements from 115 universities.

The report is available here and the blog written by Patrycja Krupinska here.

Local Authorities Reporting under the MSA: New Study

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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