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Survey looks into awareness of modern slavery in construction

Survey looks into awareness of modern slavery in construction

CHAS (The Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme), in conjunction with the University of Nottingham Rights Lab, has carried out research into awareness of the importance of addressing modern slavery in construction SMEs.

According to the survey, which questioned 229 CHAS members where the majority were SMEs from the construction sector, 72% of respondents confirmed they have implemented a modern slavery policy, although almost one fifth (17%) of businesses admitted
their organisation had no intention of carrying out due diligence in the foreseeable future.

A modern slavery policy is a document or statement that demonstrates a company’s commitment to addressing the risk of modern slavery and taking the appropriate action to mitigate it throughout the organisation.

Modern slavery due diligence takes a further step as it involves the continual process of identifying and mitigating modern slavery risks within a company and its supply chains.

As such, the research has highlighted that there is still a need to move beyond policy and into action regarding the issue of tackling modern slavery.

However, legalities regarding modern slavery tend to focus on larger organisations as The Modern Slavery Act 2015 only requires that companies with an annual turnover of £36 million or more report on due diligence steps taken to address the risk. It is possible that the majority of respondents have a modern slavery policy in place because it is a client or contractual requirement for them to be able to carry out their work.

CHAS is keen to improve the record of unlawful labour practices within the construction industry by developing resources to help CHAS members take concrete steps to irradicate modern slavery. The construction sector is thought to be second only to the sex industry in the EU for being the most prone to labour exploitation.

The survey report goes on to conclude that if we are to fully address modern slavery within SMEs in the UK it is necessary to look to the government and key stakeholders for direction and guidance, and ultimately, we need new laws to help tackle the issue.


Researchers from the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, in collaboration with CHAS, carried out the research.



KCS Compliance Services can help you put an Anti-Modern Slavery Policy in place and explain the further steps and procedures you can take to protect your workforce and company. We can also help you get CHAS accredited.

CHAS offers a range of supply chain risk management services designed to help your organisation address risks such as modern slavery. As a CHAS member, you can keep track of your supply chain partners’ compliance with modern slavery legislation too.

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