Action against modern slavery is ramping up. In just the month of May 2017, the Modern Slavery Helpline dealt with nearly 200 potential victims in the UK. In the first five months of this year, 1,179 potential victims of modern slavery were identified.
Yet this number is a drop in the ocean compared to the tens of thousands of men, women and children being held as slaves right now in the UK. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 not only brought in tougher laws and sanctions against slavery, but encourages businesses to ensure they are not participating in labour abuse in their supply chains.
The Modern Slavery Act – Section 54
Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act mandates companies with an annual turnover greater than £36m publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement. Companies with a financial year-end date of 31st December were required to produce and publish their statement by 30th June. Many still haven’t.
VinciWorks has just published an e-book warning businesses about the dangers of the gig economy.
Compliance Risks and the Gig Economy takes businesses through the potential legal minefield of using gig economy apps for business purposes. From renting a room through Airbnb, buying a service on UpWork or hailing a ride on Uber, when a business interacts with the gig economy, it can have a knock-on effect across compliance areas from employment law to equality to modern slavery.
With around 14 million Brits taking part in some form of independent work, whether traditional freelance or through a new gig economy app, the potential compliance risks range from equality and discrimination to tax evasion, modern slavery and even data protection.
General Counsel and Heads of Risk attended VinciWorks’ first risk summit
On 12th September more than 30 senior counsel and heads of risk gathered to discuss the risk horizon at VinciWorks’ first risk summit in the Soho Hotel.
Delegates from international law firms, accountancy firms and corporates shared their insights into the issues that they hope will grab their board’s attention as they plan their risk management strategies. The event event was chaired by VinciWorks CEO Howard Finger.
If you are already preparing for GDPR, and with VinciWorks GDPR Guide to Compliance and our Data Protection: Privacy at Work course, you already should be, then most of what is in the Data Protection Bill will not be news to you. However this will explain the key points of the new Data Protection Bill that are different from GDPR.
Running to over 200 pages, with 194 clauses, 18 schedules and 112 pages of explanatory notes, the government describes the Bill as a “complete data protection system.” That system already exists however, and it’s called the General Data Protection Regulation.
The Bill is essentially Brexit-proofing GDPR by bringing in the European standard of data protection, along with allowed UK exemptions, no matter if, when or how the UK leaves the EU. Also the Bill is necessary to implement a single data protection regime as GDPR, as a European Directive, only applies to areas of law under EU competency. The Bill itself says things like: “Terms used in Chapter 2 and in the GDPR have the same meaning in Chapter 2 as they have in the GDPR.” So there’s no reason to throw out all the GDPR compliance work you might have done so far. Indeed, now is the time to speed it up.
As the countdown to GDPR implementation progresses, we have refreshed our course Data Protection: Privacy at Work to ensure users benefit from the latest in policy and practice.
New modules have been added and existing ones updated to take account of the coming data protection regime; both across Europe and in the UK specifically with the introduction of the new Data Protection Bill.
Global Data Protection Module
An in-depth, line by line comparative analysis of data protection legislation and regulations across more than 70 major countries. View a summary of data protection rules compared to GDPR for one country at a glance, or compare and contrast multiple jurisdictions to ensure staff all around the world understand their data protection obligations.
The Bell Pottinger story must be a warning sign to risk managers
The answer, Bell Pottinger has taught us, is yes. Mrs Thatcher’s favourite PR firm entered administration this week on the back of a disastrous, well, PR campaign. The swirling scandal that brought down an industry giant started with a £100,000 per month contract to run a campaign in South Africa on behalf of the Guptas, a family-run business empire ensnared in the largest web of corruption and political intrigue since the end of apartheid.
Bell Pottinger began its campaign with fomenting discontent of “economic apartheid,” the idea that racial injustice in South Africa has simply been replaced with economic injustice. However this campaign increasingly became about deflecting attention away from the actions of the Gupta brothers.
On 30th September 2017, the Criminal Finances Act comes into force, as does the requirement for businesses to have reasonable procedures to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. The law is broad and the net is wide; a business can be prosecuted if a contractor puts a client in touch with a dodgy accountant or the entire modus operandi of the business is to stash away taxable cash.
VinciWorks conducted a survey of 250 UK businesses to find out just how much tax evasion risk companies are exposing themselves to. A quarter of companies still do not have any policies in place to prevent financial crime and one in ten companies in the legal and financial services sector haven’t put in place a whistleblowing policy.
Are your staff sufficiently prepared for the Criminal Finances Act? Ensuring everyone is familiar with your organisations’ procedures to prevent facilitation of tax evasion will go a long way to protect your company from prosecution. We have therefore created a tax evasion code of conduct policy template based on the Criminal Finances Act that can easily be edited and made available to all staff, clients and stakeholders.