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Effectiveness of UK supply chain measures

Project evaluating the effectiveness of the TISC measures in the UK Modern Slavery Act and assessing what regulations could be considered to strengthen them.

Five years ago, the UK Modern Slavery Act introduced transparency in the supply chains (TISC) measures requiring big companies to report on their efforts to prevent modern slavery in their supply chains.

The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, in partnership with the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, carried out research investigating the effectiveness of the TISC measures.

The reporting requirement introduced by the Modern Slavery Act was designed to allow consumers and civil society to exercise accountability over companies that effectively control complex global production networks and commodity chains. These requirements have been criticised for lacking teeth and the effectiveness of the reporting model has been called into question in various studies, including during the Independent Review of the UK Modern Slavery Act in 2019.

Although the TISC requirements have pushed many organisations to release information about their supply systems, it is not clear how civil society, governments and regulators might be able to use this information to hold firms accountable for human rights breaches in their supply chain.

This project assessed civil society reports evaluating the corporate Modern Slavery Act statements to provide an overview of how the TISC measures have performed to date and assess what regulations and interventions could be considered by policy-makers to strengthen section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 on transparency in supply chains.

The project took a wider view to compare the corporate regulations in other areas such as bribery, gender pay gap or environmental impact, both in the UK and other jurisdictions, to gather evidence relating to what the regulations require companies to do and how it is enforced.

Project team: Steve New, Lisa Hsin (Bonavero Institute of Human Rights), Lise Smit, Irene Pietropaoli (Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law).