UK City Transparency Map

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the FAQ for our experimental UK City Transparency Map, which aims to capture all supply chain transparency activity in the UK. 

Is the data in your map the complete picture?

No, but we think that it's the most complete picture available at present. It is helped by the fact that so many of our public buyers are working hard to fill out their own parts of the jigsaw puzzle here in the UK. The TISCreport system is receiving and searching for transparency data constantly which buyers are able to access. We have big plans for making this map more useful, but we've published it in time for Anti-Slavery Month as a baseline for measuring public sector supply chain transparency over time.

How can you measure the transparency of a city?

A city is a collection of a number of organisations and networks. We've started our map looking at local government bodies (councils of all types) because these are already the most transparent in terms of visibility of supply chain. The more organisations we can see in that city, and the relationships they have with each other and their suppliers, the more transparent they become.

Whilst transparency itself isn't a quantifiable measure, we have defined a number of levels of transparency to help us measure progress.

Level 0 Transparency is when you know exactly who you are buying from. This means that we are able to match a supplier to an exact financial entity with a unique reference number that is recognisable across other systems. This could be a company number as held in Companies House, or it could be a VAT number. There are unique numbers called DUNS, which are a proprietary reference number created by Dun & Bradstreet, and there are other open formats called Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs). In the latter case LEIs can be issued to "natural persons" if they are actiing in an independent business capacity.

Level 1 Transparency is where it gets interesting. This is where suppliers share their own tier 1 suppliers. Transparency increases exponentially at this point and we can start to do some very clever predictive analytics with this live data.

Beyond Level 1 the focus is about seeing deeper into supply chains on a more or less live basis. Interestingly, our research is starting to show us that whilst individuals are connected through six or seven degrees of freedom, you need far less to identify exploitation within supply chains.

Why is there no visibility from Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, it is their Department of Justice that is leading the anti-slavery work and their spokesperson has provided TISCreport with an update:

“Tackling modern slavery is a priority for the Northern Ireland Department of Justice, which is currently consulting on a new multi-agency draft Modern Slavery Strategy for Northern Ireland[4].  The ‘Prevent’ strand of the draft strategy seeks to reduce the threat of modern slavery by reducing vulnerability and demand by raising awareness and by ensuring that key sectors and the general public are equipped to spot the signs of exploitation and report any suspicions.  It also seeks to strengthen cross-sector resilience through adopting a more strategic approach to training by conducting a training needs analysis and by developing and delivering a training plan for relevant sectors.   The draft strategy also commits to increasing engagement with relevant sectors to raise awareness of risk and promote good practice and as part of this commitment, the Department of Justice plans to host a training event for all public sector procurement leads, to promote best practice in ensuring that supply chains and public procurement are free from modern slavery.   This event will take place in January 2019 and will be delivered by Welsh Government officials, who are recognised as having led the field in this area, having successfully delivered this training across their jurisdiction.”

We anticipate however that there will be some changes to the map before then. Watch this space!

Why is Scotland looking so dark on the map?

Different nations do things differently and we have had only a small number of Scottish councils with dashboards on TISCreport. This does not mean they are doing nothing however, only that TISCreport has little visibility of it in terms of open data.

The latest progress update we have received from Scottish Government is as follows:

The first annual progress report published in June provides a general summary of what has been achieved by Scottish Government in implementing the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy. This includes work to raise awareness of human trafficking in public procurement. They have also published revised national sustainable procurement tools to include revised indicators and guidance: supply chain conditions and worker exploitation, and conflict minerals. The indicators and guidance were developed with public sector buyers, colleagues from Human Trafficking Policy and Human Rights Policy, and with feedback from the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy Action Area 3 Group to ensure they take account of human trafficking considerations, including checking whether existing contractors have published a slavery and human trafficking statement.

If you want to keep up with where Scotland is on tackling human trafficking and exploitation you can sign up to receive their newsletters:

They are having an Anti-Slavery Event this month which is unfortunately sold out (but as it is heavily oversubscribed it should give you an idea of how seriously it is being taken):

My city doesn't have a modern slavery statement. Is that bad?

No. UK public bodies are not mandated to have modern slavery statements. Only organisations over £36Million turnover with a trading footprint (buying or selling) in the UK need to have a statement. There is a Modern Slavery (Transparency in Supply Chains) Private Members' Bill sponsored by Baroness Young of Hornsby which would impact on how UK public bodies implement the Act as part of their procurement processes. The date for the second reading has yet to be announced.

My city seems to have suppliers who aren't compliant with the Modern Slavery Act. Does this mean they haven't checked?

Not at all. It means that they are aware of them and will hopefully be encouraging those suppliers to comply on TISCreport so we can tell all their other buyers about it. 

Many buyers will have asked for copies of statements without having the time to check for full compliance, whilst our systems do more detailed checks. The fact that your city or council has a populated dashboard means that they're proactively using live data. That's a really good thing and something to celebrate!

What is the difference between an anti-slavery councillor and an anti-slavery officer?

An anti-slavery councillor is an elected councillor that has been given the modern slavery portfolio for their city/council. An anti-slavery officer is a full time employee of that city/council. Some cities have both whilst others have one or none. Some put the responsibility into the safeguarding portfolio whilst others put it into the procurement end. It all depends on where the focus lies for that city.

Why did TISCreport produce this map?

We're a social enterprise with a supply chain transparency for social justice mission. We started this mission because we saw that the absence of good data often led to bad policy, and bad policy impacts real lives. So we've created the first iteration of a UK city transparency map so that we can ensure that any changes in policy relating to modern slavery, human trafficking and labour exploitation are evidence-based. The map establishes a baseline so that we can see changes in time.

For the full background look at our report here:

Who else is working on tackling modern slavery in supply chains in local government?

Lots of organisations are working hard in this space and we'll list them here as they get in touch.  However one organisation that has done a phenomenal amount of work specifically on local government bodies is the Local Government Association. They have produced a portal specifically devoted to supply chain transparency that you can see here:

They have also been very helpful in providing links to statements that our bots had not found yet, and it is with thanks that we've added them to the map. They will show on the map after the usual automated checks.

What do you mean by percentage of compliant suppliers? Is this an absolute figure?

Our systems process suppliers from accounting systems and match them against unique financial entities. Due to human error in data entry and use of trading names, not all suppliers are matched. We have also excluded schools and colleges so that the focus is on trading organisations. So the figures are not absolute - they are presented as a proportion of the suppliers known to be over the turnover threshold where statements have been found.

I love what you're doing. How do I get involved?

As a self-funded supply chain transparency social enterprise we want as many people and organisations involved as possible. So you would be extremely welcome to get involved. The best place to get started if you represent an organisation is to join and add your own suppliers to the community. Lack of budget should be no barrier - we have a free affiliate membership level so that you can get involved within minutes. If you do have budget to join as a paid member however it will be most gratefully received and will enable us to continue doing our work and help to fund front-line anti-slavery work.

If you believe as we and our members do: that transparency is not something you write about but something you do and evidence, then we want to hear from you.

We're a team of four people with massive ambitions to help create a fair world with open data. We think we can do that with the right partners, collaborators and sponsors to help extend our impact.  If you think you fit into any of those categories please get in touch.

Where do you get all your UK public sector data from for the map and how do you keep it up to date?

None of this work would have been possible without open data from Companies House or the open data registers produced by our friends at the UK Government Digital Service. The registers ensure that we are linking public sector buyers to their exact unique identifiers that are used across GOV.UK systems.  Without these unshakeable foundations we would not be publishing such a map! The supplier data of course comes from the public bodies themselves either as open data or as privately held data.

The compliance and non-compliance data is gathered and checked by our intelligent agents, lovingly dubbed "TISCbots".

We are incredibly lucky that the UK has a very proactive open data movement within UK Government and it's civil society partners (including the Open Government Network and the Open Data Institute). The Data Strategy for the UK is led by DCMS and we contribute to this via our seat on the DCMS UK Digital Economy Advisory Group.

The map isn't working on my browser. Why is this happening?

A couple of reasons are possible. If you are viewing on older versions of Internet Explorer (10 and below), or Google Chrome then you will need to upgrade your browser version.

But another thing that might occur is that some IT departments disable Javascript for machines on their networks, which will also stop the map from appearing or functioning on your desktop machines.

But don't worry - you can also view the map on your personal smart phones while you have a conversation with your IT support staff. If you can ask them nicely to whitelist our domain ( for Javascript to run you'll be up and running in no time.

If you're still having issues please get in touch with a screen grab, your browser and operating system details, and we'll get to the bottom of it for you.

Where can I find more details of the Anti-Slavery Helpline statistics?