Stockport Council publishes its first Modern Slavery statement

On December 18th 2018, Cabinet approved Stockport Council’s first Modern Slavery Statement, which covers the year from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

Modern Slavery is defined as a situation where traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. Although this often involves an international cross-border element, it is also possible for someone to be a victim of modern slavery within their own country. In 2018 in the UK, for example, the largest victim group was UK nationals (15.9% of all reported cases).

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 introduced the concept of the Modern Slavery Statement. These statements should set out the steps that organisations are taking, or plan to take, to ensure that their business and supply chains do not have links to modern slavery. The Act requires commercial organisations with an annual turnover of £36 million or more to produce such statements and to review them annually to ensure that they remain current.

Councils and other public sector organisations are not currently required to produce such statements. In September 2018 however, Stockport Council passed a motion that expressed its abhorrence of modern slavery and included a commitment to produce annual Modern Slavery Statements.

On December 18th 2018, Cabinet approved Stockport Council’s first Modern Slavery Statement, which covers the year from 1st April 2019 to 31st March 2020. Officers from a range of Council services contributed to the production of the statement. Officers from STAR Procurement, the Council’s procurement partner, also worked on the statement – STAR will have a significant part to play in ensuring the principles set out in the statement are upheld.

The Modern Slavery Statement outlines activity that the Council has already undertaken relating to modern slavery and sets out additional activity that it will undertake during 2019/20. The statement will be reviewed annually to ensure it remains current, and future iterations of the statement will review progress with the previous year’s actions, as well as setting out work for the year ahead.

For more information about Stockport Council’s Modern Slavery Statement 2019/20 visit https://www.stockport.gov.uk/modern-slavery-statement.