Prepare and review your baseline data: Collect and analyse relevant data from the previous year, such as training statistics, SAQ response rates, and audit summaries. These statistics serve as a baseline for measuring progress and identifying areas for improvement. By reviewing these numbers now you will have them ready when you go to write your report but you can start your activities to improve on them today. If every year you find yourself scratching your head on what evidence to provide in your statement; this is the year to establish your effectiveness measurement framework (formal KPI’s with clear metrics, broken out to test the effectiveness of each stage of your due diligence framework).
Document your achievements: Review key accomplishments and lessons learned that have influenced your approach to combating modern slavery. Case studies highlighting positive steps taken and their impact add credibility to your reporting. By documenting these achievements while they are fresh, you reduce the anxiety of trying to remember them later. If you are lucky enough to work somewhere with a robust quality systems framework, consider asking your quality manager to add a tag for 3rd Party Social Risks in your Corrective Action/Preventative Action quality management system. Provided this system is well used and confidential information can be maintained within it this allows for an excellent repository of learning for you to make use of next year.
Review your commitments: Review last year’s commitments and evaluate the progress achieved in each area. Take detailed notes on the steps taken, challenges faced, and outcomes achieved. This review provides a foundation for setting new goals and strategies for the current year.
Develop a Plan: Convene your Modern Slavery Working Group together and set your objectives for the current year. Identify any existing gaps and develop strategies to address them. A comprehensive plan sets clear objectives, outlines actions, and establishes measurable targets. It ensures that all relevant stakeholders are aligned, resources are allocated appropriately, and progress is regularly monitored.
Extend your plan: Set your sights beyond this year and challenge your team to write a three-year future focussed modern slavery action plan. Doing so will mean that next year you already have a good sense for your next steps and will help foster a culture of continuous improvement in your approaches. Recognise your limitations – if your team are unclear on your long-term goals or where to take your approaches this year, you might be in need of external perspectives.
Write this year’s statement with purpose: Many companies write their statements from a blank sheet of paper each year. Challenge your team to take a more formulaic approach that allows you to next year pick-up where you left off, make the necessary adjustments to reflect current practice, update your key performance indicators and case studies and sign it off efficiently. Challenge your team to build internal consensus early on your statement, have it approved by your Board and socialised as early as possible to help you leverage the commitments into meaningful action.