Sancroft-Tussell Report: Eliminating Modern Slavery in Public Procurement

Tussell has collaborated with Sancroft, a leading sustainability consultancy, to produce the Sancroft-Tussell report: ‘Eliminating modern slavery in public procurement’.

The Modern Slavery Act has been widely heralded as world-leading legislation in the effort to tackle slavery and human trafficking. Ministers have emphasised the potential of the act to protect victims, but our new report in partnership with sustainability consultancy Sancroft reveals that over 40% of the top suppliers to central government fail to meet its basic requirements.

The Sancroft-Tussell report finds that there is still a long way to go in efforts to eliminate modern slavery from public procurement. Examining the modern slavery statements of the top 100 suppliers to central government in 2017, our report shows wide variance in both legal compliance and the quality of reporting.

More than half of the top suppliers work in the construction and real estate industries, which have been identified as having a high risk of modern slavery. The sheer size and global reach of many suppliers further heightens the risk of slavery in their complex supply chains.

Yet whilst 97% of the top suppliers to central government published an annual Slavery and Human Trafficking statement as required by law, only 58% of were legally compliant. There were examples of good statements, but the majority showed a lack of engagement with the Home Office’s six recommended areas of reporting. 

With the top suppliers accounting for £27.5B of the £52B in new contracts awarded by central government in 2017, they represent a significant slice of public procurement. Scrutiny of government contracts is growing and the public needs to be confident that major suppliers are adhering with legislation on the issue.

It is time for government and business to make eliminating modern slavery from public procurement a top priority.

Download a PDF version of the Sancroft-Tussell report, ‘Eliminating modern slavery in public procurement’.

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