Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act

Documents relating to the review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015

The government commissioned Frank Field MP, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss to run an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 to strengthen and enhance the current legislation as modern slavery evolves. The review has now closed.

We have published our interim findings on the role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, the transparency in supply chains provisions, Independent Child Trafficking Advocates scheme and legal application of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The final report will be published in due course.

Modern Slavery Act 2015 review: terms of reference

Explains what the independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 aims to do and also includes the background, structure and scope of the review.

The independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 is being led by Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Rt Hon Maria Miller MP and Rt Hon Baroness Butler-Sloss.

The review’s purpose is to report on the operation and effectiveness of the act, which provides the legal framework for tackling modern slavery in the UK. It will also consider potential improvements to the act in order to ensure that it is fit for purpose now and in the future.

The following provisions of the act will be considered in the review:

Section 3 on the meaning of exploitationSections 8 to 10 on reparation ordersSections 40 to 44 on the Independent Anti-Slavery CommissionerSection 45 on the statutory defenceSection 48 on independent child trafficking advocatesSection 54 on transparency in supply chains
The reviewers will report on the evidence they gather and submit recommendations to the Home Secretary in March 2019.

Modern Slavery Act 2015: Review Process

Explains the process for collecting evidence for the independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015
The review will collect evidence on specific provisions in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, including transparency in supply chains, child victims of modern slavery, the role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, and the legal application of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

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Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015: terms of reference

Published 17 September 2018

1. Background

The introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the first legislation of its kind in the world, has helped to transform the UK’s response to modern slavery. More victims are being identified and supported; more offenders are being prosecuted; and thousands of companies have published statements setting out the steps they have taken to tackle modern slavery in their supply chains.

The UK is determined to lead global efforts to tackle this barbaric crime and as the methods used by criminals to exploit vulnerable people evolve, and our understanding of this crime evolves, it is important to consider our legislative approach.

2. Aim of the review

The aim of the review is to report on the operation and effectiveness of, and potential improvements to, provisions in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which provides the legal framework for tackling modern slavery.

3. Structure of the review

The review will gather evidence and seek views from relevant stakeholders. This process could include a call for written submissions, evidence sessions on particular aspects of the legislation, and interviews with representatives from civil society, business, law enforcement and other interested bodies.

The review will be independent; the findings and recommendations of the review will represent the views of the reviewers. The reviewers will be supported by a secretariat which will be seconded from the Home Office, and sponsored by the Director for Tackling Slavery and Exploitation.

The review will aim to report to the Home Secretary before the end of March 2019. On completion, the review is to be compiled into a report, including recommendations, to be presented to the Home Secretary for approval.

Following approval, the Home Secretary will lay the report in Parliament.

4. Scope of the review

This review aims to understand how the 2015 act is operating in practice, how effective it is, and whether the legal framework for tackling modern slavery is fit for purpose now and in the future. In doing so, the review will need to take into account any significant political, economic, social and technological changes since the 2015 act was passed.

The following provisions of the act must be considered in the review:

section 3 on the meaning of exploitationsections 8-10 on reparation orderssections 40 to 44 on the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissionersection 45 on the statutory defencesection 48 on independent child trafficking advocatessection 54 on transparency in supply chains
In particular, the review should consider the following questions which have been brought to the attention of the government by the sector and others as issues requiring consideration:

in relation to section 3, how to ensure the act is ‘future-proof’ given our evolving understanding of the nature of modern slavery offences, for example the recent and emerging issues of county lines and orphanage traffickingin relation to sections 8 to 10, how to ensure access to legal remedies and compensation for victims and would a specific civil wrong improve access to compensation for victimsin relation to sections 40 to 44, how to ensure the independence of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner
in relation to section 45, how to ensure an appropriate balance between the need to protect victims from criminal prosecution and preventing criminals from abusing this protection to avoid justicein relation to section 48, how to ensure the right support for child victims given the changing profile of child victimsin relation to section 54, how to ensure compliance and drive up the quality of statements produced by eligible companies
The review should take into account the following principles:

recommendations should only relate to the legal framework provided by the act and its implementationrecommendations must be sustainable and take into account the financial and practical impact of implementationthe review may consider other matters in relation to modern slavery subject to the agreement of the Home Secretarypurdah guidelines should be adhered to where appropriate

Independent review of the Modern Slavery Act: process for evidence collection

Published 17 September 2018

The government has commissioned Frank Field MP, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss to run an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 to strengthen and enhance the current legislation as modern slavery evolves.

The review will consider specific provisions in the act as summarised in the table below and set out in the published terms of reference.

Review topicRelevant sections of actSpecific questions to be addressed (non-exhaustive)
Transparency in supply chainsSection 54 on transparency in supply chainsHow to ensure compliance and drive up the quality of statements produced by eligible companies
Role of the Independent Anti-Slavery CommissionerSections 40 to 44 on the Independent Anti-Slavery CommissionerHow to ensure the independence of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
Legal application of the Modern Slavery Act 2015Section 3 on the meaning of exploitationHow to ensure the act is ‘future-proof’ given our evolving understanding of the nature of modern slavery offences
Sections 8 to 10 on reparation ordersHow to ensure access to legal remedies and compensation for victims, and whether a specific civil wrong would improve access to compensation for victims
Section 45 on the statutory defenceHow to ensure an appropriate balance between the need to protect victims from criminal prosecution and preventing criminals from abusing this protection to avoid justice
Child victims of modern slaverySection 48 on independent child trafficking advocatesHow to ensure the right support for child victims given the changing profile of child victims

The review will produce a final report by end of March 2019. Ahead of this, the review will produce interim reports on the 4 areas of the review set out above. They will initially focus on transparency in supply chains and the role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

Evidence collection process

The review has appointed expert advisers who will gather evidence from specific interest groups, the following expert advisers have been confirmed:

ParliamentariansVernon Coaker MP
Civil societyAnthony Steen
Criminal justice systemPeter Carter QC and Caroline Haughey QC
Faith groupsBishop Alastair Redfern, Chair of the Clewer Initiative
BusinessJohn Studzinski and Baroness Young
Commonwealth and internationalChristian Guy
Child traffickingProfessor Ravi Kohli

The expert advisers will be supported in their role by the review secretariat - you can contact the review secretariat

The expert advisers will prioritise gathering evidence on the first 2 topics of the review (transparency in supply chains and the role of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner), with the aim of publishing interim reports on these topics by the end of November 2018.