10 March 2021

Good practices for Modern Slavery Statements shared at HSV workshop

The Australian Border Force has advised health services to focus on addressing mandatory criteria and continuous improvement when preparing their Modern Slavery Statements.

SwedWatch Healthier Procurement March 2015 4

Modern Slavery Statements are required under the Modern Slavery Act, which aims to combat practices such as human trafficking, servitude and forced labour.  

Key points:

  • Health services should focus on addressing mandatory criteria and continuous improvement in their Modern Slavery Statements.
  • High-quality statements share many good practices such as addressing impacts and having a plan for action.
  • Health services are expected to undertake activities during each reporting period and make Modern Slavery Statements publicly available online.

Chester Ward from the Australian Border Force’s Modern Slavery Business Engagement Unit presented to reporting health services at HSV’s Community of Learning workshop in January this year.

“The first statement is about creating a foundation for future statements so it’s important to focus on continuous improvement and a plan for action,” Chester says.

“Highlight what you expect to reasonably be able to achieve with the resources you have. Tier 1 suppliers might be a priority at first, before expanding to Tier 2 and lower-risk suppliers in subsequent reports,” he says.

A number of healthcare and health service entities have already submitted their statements and Chester noted that high-quality statements shared many good practices including:

  • clearly addressing the mandatory criteria
  • including headings and sections
  • focusing on continuous improvement and a plan for action
  • addressing COVID-19 impacts - almost every organisation has been affected
  • taking account of the organisation’s size and resources
  • including case studies and practical examples.
  • approval by the Board or principal governing body before being submitted.

In order to produce a compliant Modern Slavery Statement, which must be made publicly available online, health services are expected to undertake certain activities during each reporting period. These activities include assessing modern slavery risks and implementing due diligence processes.  

HSV undertakes risk assessment for its suppliers and incorporates clauses in its agreements to ensure suppliers recognise their requirements under the Modern Slavery Act, which the Australian Government legislated in 2018 to combat modern slavery, by helping Australian businesses protect against possible business harm and improve the integrity and quality of their supply chains.

HSV prepared a sample introduction in the Modern Slavery statement guide shared with health services in September 2020.

For further information or support, please contact your HSV Customer Relationship Manger or the HSV Modern Slavery team at helpdesk@healthsharevic.org.au.

Image source: SwedWatch, Healthier Procurement, 2015