I am calling for written submissions on how a central repository for modern slavery statements, required under Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act, can work to help monitor the impact of the Modern Slavery Act.

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act, with its requirement for companies to publish modern slavery statements, forces companies to be transparent about their labour practices and the efforts they are (or are not) making to eradicate modern slavery from their supply chains. Transparency, however, is not an end in itself but rather a means to creating accountability.

A central repository is one mechanism that could help translate increased transparency into accountability by easing the ability to analyse and compare statements. This will in turn hold businesses to account, by allowing the public, businesses, consumer groups and potential investors to compare corporate responses to the challenge of addressing modern slavery.

For this new transparency to result in the necessary accountability to improve labour practices, there needs to be commensurate effort from the media, citizens, academics and activists, to actually engage with the data that is made available. A central repository, if designed appropriately, would aid this engagement.

As the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, I therefore invite you to submit your views on how a central repository should be formed and function.

Please fill out the written submission form by the 20th January 2017, and share your views on how best a central repository can help improve monitoring of the implementation of Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act.