One quarter of largest charities have no modern slavery statement

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Over a quarter of the largest 100 charities in the UK do not have a modern slavery statement published online, according to new research published today.

The Modern Slavery Act received royal assent in March 2015 and includes a requirement for all businesses with a turnover of more than £36m to produce annual statements on modern slavery in their organisation’s supply chain.

It requires organisations to publish the statements online with a link to them “in a prominent place” on their website’s homepage.

Charity Finance magazine looked at the largest 100 charities’ websites and found that 27 of these did not have a modern slavery statement.

While all these organisations have an income of more than £36m, some say the legislation does not apply to them because the Act’s definition of turnover is only the amount charged for goods and services minus any discounts and taxes paid.

Nevertheless, the Home Office has said that all organisations, regardless of size, may find it helpful to voluntarily produce a statement, and recommends that they should “be open and transparent about their recruitment practices, policies and procedures in relation to modern slavery”.

No statements

Some of the charities without online statements, had them published elsewhere, while some said they did not produce one because the regulation did not apply to them.

The largest charity not to have a statement published online is Macmillan Cancer Support. The charity does however have guidance for staff “to ensure we are taking all relevant steps to reduce the risk of modern slavery in our supply chain as far as possible”.

Citizens Advice said its turnover was “way below the threshold” due to much of its £99m income coming from grants.

Unicef said it was not legally obliged to issue a statement but that is would voluntarily do so covering its financial year to December 2017.

WWF UK made a similar pledge. “WWF adheres to clear values and we believe that modern slavery is wrong. We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and although WWF is not strictly obliged to publish a statement under the Modern Slavery Act, we do believe it is important and as such are working on publishing our position.

“We already have a substantive clause in our standard terms and conditions requiring partners and suppliers to commit to taking steps to ensure that slavery is not occurring in their supply chains.”

Others such as RSPB, Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity and the Leverhulme Trust said the regulation does not apply to them.

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