Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Policy
1.1 Modern slavery is a serious and organised crime that destroys communities and causes significant harm to victims. It is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain and involves people being coerced and forced into providing a service to others. It is a crime that affects people of all genders, ages (including children) and ethnicities and violates fundamental human rights.
1.2 Some estimates suggest that approximately 40 million people are living in slavery across the world, many of whom will be working to produce the goods and services which are bought and sold every day. The Home Office estimated over 10 thousand potential victims in the UK alone in 2013.
1.3 Worldwide, the International Labour Organisation estimates that hundreds of billions of illegal profits are generated by traffickers per year. Unscrupulous businesses that use slave labour undercut businesses, and if this horrendous crime is to be eradicated from the UK and the rest of the world, government and companies must work together.
2. Zero Tolerance
2.1 Parliament adopts zero tolerance to modern slavery, human trafficking, and all forms of corruption and bribery, directly and indirectly, associated with these criminal acts. While no such abuse is tolerated, an open and transparent approach is required by Parliament and our suppliers, to ensure we take steps to identify and tackle any instances of modern slavery in our supply chain.
2.2 Modern slavery is so pervasive that it is likely to exist in the supply chains of the goods and services purchased by public bodies. Parliament is committed to ensuring that taxpayers’ money does not inadvertently fund this criminal activity and is committed to protecting vulnerable workers in its own supply chains from exploitation or harm.
2.3 Parliament fully supports the government’s objectives to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking. 2.4 Parliament believes that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect at all times and under all circumstances. Parliament’s Behaviour Code states that everyone working for Parliament, at Westminster or elsewhere, are responsible for ensuring Parliament meets the highest ethical standards of integrity, courtesy and mutual respect.
3.1 Modern slavery is the term used within the UK and is defined within the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the ‘Act’). The term is used to encompass slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour, bonded and child labour and human trafficking.
3.2 Human trafficking is where a person arranges, or facilitates, the travel of another person with a view to that person being exploited.
4. Policy Aims
4.1 This policy provides a framework to ensure:
4 • All members of the Parliamentary community understand and are aware of their responsibilities in relation to modern slavery.
• The development of a strategic approach to identifying and tackling any modern slavery within Parliament’s supply chains.
• The implementation of robust, transparent and proportionate governance and assurance processes.
• Reporting of instances (or concerns) of modern slavery.
5. Responsibilities and Accountabilities
5.1 Parliament recognises that it is responsible for promoting ethical business practices and policies that protect workers from being abused or exploited.
5.2 The prevention, detection and reporting of modern slavery in any part of Parliament or its supply chain is the responsibility of all those working for us or on our behalf. Any passholder must not engage in, facilitate or fail to report any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of this policy.
5.3 Therefore, this policy applies to all persons working for Parliament or on behalf of Parliament, in any capacity, including employees at all levels, directors, officers, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, agents and contractors.
5.4 The House of Commons Executive Board and the House of Lords Management Board have overall responsibility for ensuring this policy complies with Parliament’s legal and ethical obligations, and that all those under our control comply with it. The In House Services & Estates Team currently has primary and day-to-day responsibility for implementing this policy, monitoring its use and effectiveness, dealing with any related queries, and auditing internal control systems and procedures to ensure they are effective in countering modern slavery.
6. Contractor Responsibilities
6.1 Parliament requires all organisations with whom it is engaged to ensure that their goods, services, materials and labour-related supply chains:
• Fully comply with the Act.
• Are clear, transparent, accountable and auditable.
• Are free from ethical ambiguities.
6.2 Parliament expects that its contractors operate to the highest level of ethical standards and will hold their own suppliers to the same high standards.
6.3 Contractors who supply goods or services deemed to be at particular risk of modern slavery (or have a high contract value with Parliament) may be invited to complete the Cabinet Office’s Modern Slavery Assessment. Parliament may also encourage contractors that do not fall within the scope of the Act to complete this assessment.
6.4 This assessment will help Parliament to assess the capacity of the contractor to manage and prevent the risks of modern slavery. It will also support Parliament to work in partnership with contractors to improve protections and reduce the risk of exploitation of workers in their supply chains.
6.5 Parliament acknowledges that contractors may be at different stages of their journey towards having more ethical supply chains but expects to see them demonstrate continuous improvement in how modern slavery risks are mitigated.
6.6 Parliament may require contractors who engage workers through a third party to obtain that third party’s agreement to adhere to this policy and demonstrate how they seek to tackle any Modern Slavery within their supply chain.
6.7 Consistent with this approach, Parliament may require employment and recruitment agencies, and other third parties supplying workers to teams in either Administration, to demonstrate their compliance with this policy.
7. Awareness and Training
7.1 Parliament will raise awareness of this policy (and the Act) by notifying third parties in our frameworks, delivery partnerships and other organisations with which we regularly engage.
7.2 The Education and Engagement Team will explore opportunities to raise awareness of this policy (and the Act) in the course of engaging schools, communities and the public in the work of Parliament.
7.3 The policy will be published on the UK Parliament website and the intranet.
7.4 Parliament will look for opportunities to raise awareness of modern slavery and human rights abuses throughout the Parliamentary community. Appropriate training and guidance will be provided, particularly for commercial and procurement staff.
7.5 Training will include how to identify the risks of modern slavery and ensure that suspected instances are handled correctly.
7.6 Parliament will provide modern slavery information, advice and guidance to contractors. Where feasible, Parliament may also extend modern slavery training to contractors (however, contractors will retain their overall responsibility of providing training internally to their staff).
7.7 Parliament will maintain records of all members of the Parliamentary community who have completed modern slavery training.
8. Assurance and Transparency
8.1 Parliament has committed to implementing systems and controls aimed at ensuring that modern slavery is not taking place anywhere within either Administration or in any of Parliament’s supply chains.
8.2 Parliament takes a risk-based approach to its procurement, contract management and supply chain management processes in relation to modern slavery and keeps them under continuous review.
8.3 As part of ongoing risk assessment and due diligence processes, Parliament will consider whether circumstances warrant the auditing of contractors to demonstrate their compliance with this policy.
8.4 To supplement this policy, Parliament will voluntarily publish an annual Transparency Statement for each financial year, which will include details of activities undertaken by Parliament and its supply chains to combat modern slavery.
8.5 The Transparency Statement will be published on the UK Parliament website, as well as the Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) Platform and the Modern Slavery Registry within 6 months after the last financial year end.