Economic Crime in the construction industry exists in many guises, ranging from the issues arising from modern slavery where fraudulent qualifications and rights of residency are being uncovered and numerous issues of falsifying payments and certificates of compliance. CCLG members will be sharing how they deal with economic crime and highlighting when new more innovative forms of fraud are uncovered.
Modern slavery arises when organisations or individuals disregard human rights in the name of profit, creating a trap for vulnerable people and forcing them to endure poor living and working conditions, and quite often physical harm, with little hope of escape.
There are an estimated 45 million enslaved people globally with modern slavery reported in 167 countries.
The UK construction industry employs approximately three million people, and is considered to be a high risk industry for labour exploitation.
A report from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), ‘The Nature and Scale of Labour Exploitation across all Sectors within the United Kingdom, said: “The often convoluted supply chains in the industry makes identifying potential exploitation and ending illegal practices challenging.”
In construction, modern slavery creates a very particular problem because of the lack of proper training, inadequate equipment and poorly regulated working conditions which can result in a very real risk to life.
It’s an issue we should all be taking seriously, and not just because the law requires us to.
Since the inception of the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) in 2015, businesses from both the public and private sector with a turnover of £36 million or more are required to publish an annual online Transparency in the Supply Chain (TISC) statement which details the steps they are taking to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking.
In fact, adherence to the MSA forms part of the Cabinet Office Selection Questionnaire, which public sector organisations are expected to comply with.
Some of the minimum recommendations are that businesses of all sizes should:
Ensure all UK workers receive minimum wage and robust immigration checks
Map supply chains to identify where the highest risk and exposure to modern slavery exists
Undertake site inspections
Provide training to employees and local suppliers on modern slavery risks and compliance
Review supplier contracts to include obligations to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015
Useful Links and Resources
The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA)
report on the nature and scale of labour exploitation
Stronger Together Progress Reporting Tool (PRT),
an online self-assessment tool that supports companies
globally to measure progress made in addressing modern
slavery risks and to highlight the next steps for their
/businesses and supply chains. The PRT is currently
Goods project sponsors (Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, M&S,
exclusively available for suppliers to the Consumer
Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, Tesco and
Waitrose & Partners).
Tackling Modern Slavery in UK Businesses Toolkit-
includes practical advice on the specific steps to take
across different areas of the businesses to effectively deter,
detect and deal with modern slavery.