Tech in the first UK Government Modern Slavery Statement
ICT and electronics highlighted as high risk in first UK Government Modern Slavery Statement.
The UK Government published its first Modern Slavery Statement last week. The 29-page document covers all central government departments and clearly states that the £6.5 billion it spends on ICT and electronics represents a high risk of modern slavery.
The publication of the statement marks five years since the Modern Slavery Act passed, a world leading piece of legislation that (among other things) obligates large businesses to publish an annual statement setting out how they evaluate and address modern slavery risks in their operations and wider supply chains. Public sector bodies do not have to produce a statement, but the Home Office is keen to make it so as government departments are huge buyers of goods and services. They consulted on strengthening the reporting requirements last year and we encourage the Home Office to set out next steps shortly so companies can understand what is expected of them.
In the statement there is a strong belief that ICT and electronics has high modern slavery risks mainly in the mining, material extraction and manufacturing phases. There is a whole page devoted to ICT and electronics and this section outlines steps that the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is taking to better understand and manage these risks, but also acknowledges how difficult it is to get full visibility over tech supply chains.
A single smartphone or laptop can contain thousands of components that each have their own supply chain and material extraction. Industry has taken huge strides to better understand the supply chains and work collaboratively with customers and suppliers, and we are encouraged that government is working with NGOs on the ground as well as partnering with Electronics Watch and the Responsible Business Alliance.
As well as projects at the source the statement also says that CCS and departments are asking more questions in the ICT procurement process and developing methods to hold suppliers to account on their modern slavery policies and obligations. The statement does not set this out in detail, so we would like to hear from members on questions they are being asked and would also like to work with CCS and the Home Office around supplier performance.
Over the past five years techUK has been helping companies comply with the Act and take meaningful action. We reported on how the sector was complying with the Act, held workshops on auditing and statement writing, ran a conference and are helping members design internal modern slavery programmes and understand similar laws popping up in jurisdictions all over the world.
We also believe digital technologies are going to be essential in combatting all forms of modern slavery and human trafficking, which is why we are proud to be part of Tech Against Trafficking, a global coalition of tech firms committed to leveraging digital tools against this crime.
To learn more about what techUK is doing on modern slavery and business and human rights more generally, please get in touch using the details below, or use the Portal to register for the Sustainable Supply Chain Group.
Latest News from
CDBB publishes a pathway towards an information management framework03/06/2020 11:25:00
The CDBB has launched an open consultation on their IMF pathway, which runs until 31 August 2020 #DigitalTwinFuture.
Chancellor outlines future of the job retention scheme02/06/2020 11:25:00
Increased flexibility for the JRS and extending protection for the self-employed announced by the Chancellor.
#ConnectandProtect: Spotlight on digital inclusion and accessibility02/06/2020 09:33:00
techUK brings you a month full of events looking at digital inclusion and accessibility in the public sector.
New funding for Defence Innovation Priorities01/06/2020 10:05:00
£1m of Defence Innovation funding has been set aside for civil sector support for the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) innovation priorities.
techUK welcomes you to the Cloud computing campaign week01/06/2020 09:05:00
On Monday 15th June, techUK will launch this year’s Cloud Campaign Week. Throughout the week we will be bringing you immersive news, views and insights from experts in the technology sector on how UK organisations can realise the full potential of cloud services, the steps that need to be taken to drive the market forward and the lessons that can be learned.
ServiceNow releases apps to help employees return safely to workplaces29/05/2020 12:25:00
ServiceNow recently released ServiceNow Safe Workplace, a four‑app suite and dashboard designed to help companies manage the essential steps for returning employees to the workplace and support everyone’s health and safety. Immediately available on servicenow.com/safeworkplace, the Safe Workplace app suite is powered by the Now Platform.
European Commission publishes updated Work Programme29/05/2020 11:25:00
The European Commission has adopted an updated Work Programme, to reflect a re-prioritisation of files in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
New EU Budget Proposal28/05/2020 11:25:00
The European Commission yesterday presented its proposal for a 2021-2027 EU budget of €1.1 trillion. It has also put forward a plan for an additional €750 billion Recovery Instrument, called Next Generation EU, meant to help combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.