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 2022 to 31 July 2023.
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 22 to 31 July 2023 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 2022, 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 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.
The University is committed to safeguarding our students and vulnerable adults, improving our practices and policies both internally and throughout our supply chain, to combat modern slavery.
The University’s core business is teaching, learning and research and has a student population of
approximately 32,000 based in the UK and Overseas. The average head counts are approximately 3,000 employees across the University Group including its subsidiaries.
The University has its 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 2022/2023, Group turnover was c£210m.
Our approach to addressing modern slavery is embedded in all relevant University policies including
Sustainability, Environmental, Fairtrade and National Minimum Wage issues and is specifically referenced in our Procurement Policy dated January 2023.
Our Supply Chains and Tendering Approach
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
The University of Derby is committed to conducting its business in a socially responsible and sustainable way and to support this the Procurement team manage the on-boarding 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 Supplier Code of Conduct. For new tenders, bidders are encouraged to sign up to NET Positives 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.
Whilst there have been no reported instances of Modern Slavery impacting the University’s supply chain
during FY22/23, 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
- Transport services
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 are carrying out spot checks with current suppliers in key risk areas (construction and cleaning) working collaboratively with them to ensure there are no individuals at risk of modern slavery. As part of these checks, we will ensure our suppliers can provide an up-to-date Modern Slavery statement, and evidence how they manage the associated risks including how they pay those whether employed directly or via subcontractors and suppliers further down the supply chain. All reasonable steps are mitigated to avoid the risk of slavery and does not expose the University to these unacceptable risks.
Raising awareness and due diligence
To prevent Modern Slavery and embed awareness within our university and in our supply chains, the following due diligence processes are followed:
- Procurement Business Partners are leads for each key area of spend. The key objectives of the Business Partner approach are a better understanding of the relevant markets, improved planning and research and a greater involvement in supporting supplier management all of which will have the benefit of reducing the risk of modern slavery by maintaining focus and awareness in the areas of higher risk.
- Category strategies builds supply chain mapping, concentrating on the at-risk contracts.
- Suppliers are registering with Net Positives Supplier Engagement Tool & The Modern Slavery Act – NETpositive Futures which captures Modern Slavery statements and action plans. Any supplier refusing to agree to comply with the Supplier Code of Conduct will be removed from the supplier database.
- A minimum 10% social value and sustainability weighting in tender evaluation criteria is now part of the scoring criteria, as set out in the Government Guide for Social Value Model for in scope contracting authorities, with suppliers demonstrating social value and sustainability. Incorporating social value and sustainability has a lasting impact on students, communities, and the environment.
- Procurement staff registered with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) have completed the CIPS ‘Ethical Procurement and Supply’ on-line training.
- The University continues to participate in Modern Slavery Awareness Week and will continue to do so on an annual basis.
- The University has retained its Fairtrade accreditation that reduces the risk of modern slavery in this supply chain
- As part of the University’s efforts to eradicate practices and issues arising from Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, guidance of how to spot warning signs is covered in the mandatory training as part of the staff induction programme.
- The University collaborates 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.
- The University 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
- 846 of our suppliers are currently registered with Net Positives in 2022/23 (a reduction from 957 in 2021/22 due to removal of inactive suppliers by Net Positives)
- 83% of these registered suppliers are SMEs (small or medium-sized enterprises), of which 30% are micro-businesses (no change from 2021/22)
- 99% of our suppliers are aware of Modern Slavery (We have reached out to the 1% of supplier(s) to address this and to ensure they are taking appropriate action)
- 70% of our goods and services are sourced within the UK and Europe (down from 76% in 2021/22) due to global economic factors including Pandemic, Brexit and Ukraine.
- 900 actions to address Modern Slavery have been committed to (825 in 2021/22)
- 330 of these actions have been completed (273 in 2021/22)
- 169 of them are in progress (134 in 2021/22)
- Develop and embed contract management procedures by implementing service level agreements
alongside key contracts where labour is required to ensure the risk of Modern Slavery is managed through its supply chains, such as outsourcing and manufacturing.
- Carry out rolling programme of onsite checks with suppliers in key risk areas e.g. Catering, Cleaning and Construction.
- Monitor and encourage long term suppliers to register with via Net Positives and complete Modern Slavery action plans.
- Track suppliers progress on actions plans logged with Net Positives through contract management meetings.
- Changes to Public Procurement will include further opportunities for SME’s. Due diligence will continue to be in place, additional checks may be sought as smaller organisations may not have mature modern slavery policies.
- The University will continue to seek out and 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.
- The University will also review and implement appropriate measures from the British Standards Institution (BSI) modern slavery guidance that provides organisations 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 gave its approval of the document 6 February 2024. 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