The Home Office has launched a new modern slavery statement registry for those caught within the scope of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015's section 54 reporting requirement. 

The registry follows through on the commitment made by the UK Government at the end of 2020 to introduce various changes to the section 54 reporting regime and aligns with the approach seen under the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2020 which requires companies to provide their statements for upload to a similar platform. 

For now, the Government-run registry is a voluntary extra step although, naturally, the Government "strongly" encourages companies to submit their most recently published statement on the registry to demonstrate what they have reported. At the time of writing the registry contains 1,198 statements!

Uploading the statement will involve answering some (voluntary) questions about the statement and organisation, including which of the six suggested areas it covers, who has signed the statement, your turnover and sector. There also appear to be more specific questions on risks identified and actions taken (including engagement and audits) although, based on the available summary document (a user friendly excel spreadsheet with around 71 columns and 643 rows) answering all these questions is not yet market practice. 

In the future, it will be mandatory to upload your statement to the registry in a move taken by the UK Government to increase transparency, ease of comparability between statements and track reporting progress. The timing on that obligation is presently unclear with it again being noted changes will be made "when parliamentary time allows". Whether the registry becoming mandatory means answering the questions will also be mandatory is unclear - hopefully further guidance will be made available in due course.

Remember, for the current reporting cycle, the requirement is still to publish your statement on your website and include a link to it in a prominent place on your homepage.