CHAS and Notts Uni tackle modern slavery in construction supply chain

Supply chain risk management organisation, CHAS has partnered with the University of Nottingham Rights Lab to undertake a research project around the risk of modern slavery within construction supply chains, with a focus on SMEs.

Under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, there is no legal requirement for businesses with a turnover of less than £36m to publish a statement regarding how they are addressing the risk of modern slavery. However, many construction SMEs are asked by their supply chains to provide evidence that they are tackling the issue.

The joint study will seek to establish a range of tools and resources to help construction SMEs take positive action to manage, mitigate and eliminate the risk of modern slavery and labour exploitation in the construction supply chain.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr Akilah Jardine, research fellow at the Rights Lab, says: “We are thrilled to collaborate with CHAS on this important piece of work. Together we hope to progress understanding of SME engagement with the anti-slavery agenda, including opportunities and challenges to engaging smaller businesses, and develop tailored guidance to support their members in tackling modern slavery.”

Head of prevention and partnerships at the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, Frank Hanson, said: “We welcome the research collaboration between CHAS and the University of Nottingham Rights Lab to identify both the opportunities and barriers around the role SMEs can play to help prevent labour exploitation and modern slavery in the construction industry. SMEs are uniquely placed to be the eyes and ears of what is happening on construction sites up and down the country and can play a vital role in keeping workers safe.”

With 99% of private businesses in the UK made up of SMEs, nearly a fifth of which operate in the construction sector, supporting SMEs in effectively managing this issue has the potential to greatly improve the UK’s record in tackling modern slavery.

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