The UK Modern Slavery Act (2015) introduced restrictions and requirements for large organisations to publish a statement detailing their commitment to combating modern slavery from themselves and their supply chains.
What is modern slavery?
The term modern slavery covers the use of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and use of human trafficking. This also covers exploitation which includes:
- Sexual exploitation
- Removal of organs
- Securing services by force, threats or deception
- Securing services from children and vulnerable persons
You can find more information about the Modern Slavery Act on the National Archives website.
What actions are we taking?
We take the subject of modern slavery extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance approach to slavery in all forms from both ourselves and our supply chain. We have committed to training relevant areas of the business, optimising our current procedures and policies and creating a supplier code of conduct.
Our statement describes all these areas and how we plan to contribute in the fight against modern slavery.
Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement
This statement for the University of Derby Group of Companies covers the period from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022.
The University of Derby is committed to working with our supply chain to acquire goods, services and works without causing harm to others. This statement relates to the period 1 August 21 to 31 July 2022 which is the financial year of the University and is made pursuant to Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It sets out the steps that the University has taken in this financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains or in any part of its own business.
Modern Slavery is a hidden crime and violation of fundamental human rights. It takes various forms, such as slavery, servitude, debt bondage, child labour, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking, all of which have in common the deprivation of a person’s liberty by another to exploit them for personal or commercial gain and is extremely prevalent across the globe. The Walk Free Foundation who collates The Global Slavery Index estimates that in 2021, the number of people who were victims of modern slavery worsened to almost 50 million driven in part by the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. Of these, 22 million are in a forced marriage and almost 28 million are in forced labour.
Most children reported as victims of Modern Slavery are in the 16-17-year-old age category, yet they can be of any age, including the very young. Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places duties on a range of organisations and individuals to ensure their functions and any services that they contract out to others are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
We are committed to safeguarding our students and vulnerable adults, improving our practices and policies both internally and throughout our supply chain, to combat modern slavery.
Our core business is teaching, learning and research and we have a student population of approximately 30,000 based in the UK and Overseas. There are circa 2,200 FTEs employed across the University Group including its subsidiaries.
We have our main campus in Derby with a large University presence right across the city of Derby and both higher and further education provided in Buxton, Leek and Chesterfield.
There are ties to many major employers and public service providers in Derby, Derbyshire, and Staffordshire. In addition, there are partnership arrangements in place with both UK and overseas education institutions. In the financial year 2021/2022, Group turnover was c£198m.
Our supply chains
We are committed to conducting business in a socially responsible and sustainable way and to support this the Procurement team manage the onboarding of suppliers in which a due diligence exercise is undertaken for suppliers wishing to trade with the University Group.
The Group works with a diverse range of suppliers, all of whom have to agree and sign up to our Supplier Code of Conduct.
Every competitive tender includes a requirement for the supplier to sign a Declaration of Modern Slavery Compliance and confirm that they will comply with the Supplier Code of Conduct. For new tenders, bidders are encouraged to sign up to NETpositives which is a Supplier Engagement Sustainability tool used by the Higher Education sector to track the actions being taken by the University’s supply chain in addressing Modern Slavery.
Our main supply chains fall under the following categories:
- Professional services including agency staff, marketing, media, and library
- Estates and facilities, construction, goods, and services
- ICT equipment and services
- Corporate services and STEM
Our risk assessment
Whilst there have been no reported instances of Modern Slavery impacting the University’s supply chain during FY21/22, a risk-based approach will continue to be applied to the identification of priority areas that are a high risk for Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. These are:
- Cleaning services
- Capital building projects – construction workers
Supplier review meetings held with contracted suppliers in these areas will pay particular attention to ensuring compliance with the Code. If any instance of Modern Slavery or Human Trafficking is suspected there is a National Modern Slavery Helpline to report these concerns and the University would either report directly if appropriate or direct anyone with concerns to the Helpline.
We have continued our supply chain mapping of specific products. For example our desk chairs, while provided by a UK supplier, have components sourced from countries across Europe that are judged as low risk in the Global Slavery Index, namely Italy and Germany.
Our approach to addressing modern slavery is embedded in all relevant University policies including Sustainability, Environmental, Fairtrade and National Minimum Wage issues and will be specifically referenced in our updated Procurement Policy that will be launched in 2023.
Raising awareness and due diligence
In order to prevent Modern Slavery and embed Modern Slavery awareness within our University and in our supply chains, the following due diligence processes are undertaken:
- Any supplier refusing to agree to comply with the Supplier Code of Conduct will be removed from our supplier database
- A minimum 10% sustainability weighting in tender evaluation criteria is now in place
- All Procurement and Purchasing staff have completed the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply’s ‘Ethical Procurement and Supply’ online training
- We will participate in Modern Slavery Awareness Week and will continue to do so on an annual basis
- We have retained our Fairtrade accreditation that reduces the risk of modern slavery in this supply chain
- Continuation of supply chain mapping, concentrating on the at-risk categories
- Efforts to eradicate practices and issues arising from and affecting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking will include staff, students, business partners and suppliers and this includes a video relating to Modern Slavery that is part of the staff induction programme
- We collaborate with other Higher Education purchasing consortia and Higher Education Procurement Association (HEPA) on risk assessment and due diligence processes to share good practice and avoid duplication of effort for both the universities and external suppliers
- We will promote the Walk Free Foundation website, which works towards ending Modern Slavery in all its forms by taking a strong, multifaceted and global approach
How we measure effectiveness
- 957 of our suppliers have registered an action plan to combat Modern Slavery on NETpostive
- 83% of these registered suppliers are SMEs (small or medium-sized enterprises), of which 30% are micro-businesses
- 97% of our suppliers are aware of Modern Slavery
- 76% of our goods and services are sourced within the UK and Europe
- 825 actions to address Modern Slavery have been committed to
- 273 of these actions have been completed
- 134 of them are in progress
- A Procurement Business Partner approach is being implemented that will have leads for each key area of spend. The remit of the new business Partners will include early engagement with potential providers and more emphasis on supplier relationship management with the prevention of modern slavery being a key objective
- We will continue to implement best practice relating to Modern Slavery including the use of collaborative materials produced by Higher Education Procurement Association (HEPA) and other Higher Education Consortia
- We will also implement appropriate measures from the British Standards Institution (BSI) modern slavery guidance that provides organizations with guidance for addressing the risk of modern slavery, including prevention, identification, response, remediation, mitigation, and reporting
Members of the University’s Governing Council have reviewed this statement and the Council gave its approval of the document on 24 January 2023. It was then signed on behalf of Council by the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive.
Professor Kathryn Mitchell BSc, PhD, CPsychol
Vice-Chancellor, the University of Derby