Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement


1.    About Newcastle Upon Tyne
2.    The Council’s responsibility 
3.    About this statement
4.    Our activity and partnerships
5.    Policies and procedures in relation to Slavery and Human Trafficking
6.    Our supply chains
7.    How we manage risk
8.    Next steps
9.    Useful links

1. About Newcastle Upon Tyne

We are a vibrant city with a multi-ethnic population of 300,000 and a jurisdiction of approximately 44 square miles. As a council, we provide a wide range of services to residents, both directly and through partner organisations who deliver on our behalf. We employ over 5000 people and 63% of our influenceable spend is with North East organisations, so the actions that we take to prevent slavery and human trafficking in our own activity and our supply chains can have significant local impact.

2. The council’s responsibility

We have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of slavery or human trafficking in any part of our business or supply chains. We are responsible for ensuring that our activity as employer and service provider safeguards people from this risk. As commissioner of activity delivered on our behalf, we are also responsible for ensuring that suppliers can evidence that they are actively mitigating risks of slavery and human trafficking in their own business and supply chains. 
We also have a duty to notify the Secretary of State of suspected victims of slavery or human trafficking, in accordance with Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
3. About this statement

This statement describes the steps we have taken to prevent modern slavery in our business and supply chains. It includes activity delivered by Your Homes Newcastle to enter into and manage contracts on behalf of the council. It also provides links to related Council policies, procedures and other useful information. 
Finally, it sets out our next steps for 2021/22, describing how we plan to further improve our processes and to work with others in the City to do the same.

4. Our activity and partnerships

  • As part of the Safe Newcastle multi-agency partnership, we are leading a citywide plan to tackle slavery and human trafficking.
  • Safe Newcastle also works with other safeguarding partnerships in the city to disrupt perpetrators and protect our most vulnerable people from slavery and human trafficking.
  • We have published guidance on our website on how to identify possible indicators of slavery and how to report concerns through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).
  • Our trained safeguarding officers support staff across the Council to identify and respond to safeguarding issues.
  • Safeguarding training is mandatory for Council employees who work with vulnerable people.
  • We have a robust approach to supporting employee welfare including no zero-hours contracts, assistance programmes for Council staff and their immediate family members and face-to  face counselling through our Occupational Health Service.

5. Our policies and procedures

The following policies have been agreed by relevant Council or partnership boards and committees that include councillors, senior officers and key city stakeholder organisations.  
Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adults 
This policy defines procedures for the protection of vulnerable adults in the City. It identifies modern slavery and human trafficking as a type of abuse covered by the Council’s safeguarding procedures.

North and South of Tyne Safeguarding Children Partnership Core Procedures and Practice Guidance
This suite of core procedures, practice guidance, learning and improvement and multi-agency safeguarding arrangements ensures that partners work together to keep children and young people safe from abuse and neglect.

Policy for Confidential Reporting of Concerns (“Whistleblowing”)
As part of the council’s Ethical Governance Framework, this policy encourages the reporting of concerns relating to the council activities, whether directly delivered or by supply chains, without fear of recrimination or disadvantage. This policy is separate to the Council’s complaints procedure, grievance procedure, Policy on Fraud and Corruption, Anti- money Laundering Policy and other statutory reporting procedures that apply to some directorates.

Recruitment Policy and Code of Practice (copy available on request)
This policy details how we must ensure the right to work of all employees and lists the pre-employment checks that support the Council to safeguard vulnerable people. Where we employ people through neutral vendors, each agency used by the vendor is required to be compliant with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Employee Code of Conduct
This policy outlines the Council’s expectations of the standards of employee actions and behaviour in the context of The Seven Principles of Public Life (Nolan Principles).

Commissioning and Procurement Procedure Rules
These internal regulations govern processes for the way the Council buys goods, works and services, including strict instructions for assessing risk during the commissioning and procurement process.

Commissioning and Procurement Plan
This policy is designed for internal and external use, setting out the rationale and processes for the way the Council buys goods, works and services. The procurement principles in the Plan describe the Council’s responsibility to minimise the risk of slavery and human trafficking in its supply chains.

Equality and Diversity (copy available on request)
This policy declares the Council’s commitment to activity that meets legal duties, assesses the impact of our decisions and actions on vulnerable residents, ensures that our supply chains can evidence that they are compliant with our approach and influences others to adopt it. 

Social Value Commitment and Outcomes Framework
This policy defines good ethical leadership as a core element of our approach to Social Value. It describes the ways that the Council can deliver good ethical practice through our own activity and our supply chains, and the ways we can influence others to adopt our approach. The outcomes framework identifies measures around modern slavery and human trafficking and ethical procurement in supply chains that can be used to support contract design and tender evaluation.

6. Our supply chains

We spend around £300m each year with suppliers who deliver goods, works and services on our behalf. It is our responsibility to ensure that we do not place unrealistic price or performance requirements in contracts that can increase pressure on production workforces or increase the risk of workforce exploitation. This large and varied supply chain is majority based in the UK, but we understand that supply chains for these contracts may include countries where there is a higher risk of modern forms of slavery. We also understand that certain types of contract activity may present greater risk to employees of exploitation, so we plan and manage contracts in categories, enabling us to better identify and mitigate risks in supply chains and production methods. 
7. How we manage risk 

  • We conduct a modern slavery risk assessment for every contract, which can be supported by stakeholder engagement during commissioning.
  • Where risks are identified, we build mitigation measures into contract requirements and procurement procedures.
  • We require all tenderers to confirm and evidence that they are compliant with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
  • We apply proportionate quality criteria in every tender evaluation to mitigate risks posed by competition on price only and allow tenderers to demonstrate how they ensure the welfare of employees.
  • We include Social Value in the design of every contract opportunity and can include tender response questions that consider ethical leadership and employment standards.
  • We develop realistic performance indicators for contracts, preventing undue pressure on workforces and minimising the risk of modern slavery.
  • We include and monitor contract performance indicators that demonstrate progress in preventing slavery and human trafficking. These can include targets for training, supply chain analysis and leverage over supply chain compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
  • Where we use agencies to procure delivery on our behalf, clients are required to confirm that they are compliant with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
  • We publish details of all spend over £250, showing who we paid, how much and what it was for. 

8. Next Steps

In 2021 we will review our procurement processes to ensure that regardless of the value of a contract opportunity, all providers are required to confirm their compliance with the modern Slavery Act 2015. We will also ensure that each commissioning and procurement officer completes training to understand the risks and impact of modern slavery and human trafficking, supporting them to apply effective risk mitigation measures into contracts and categories. We will continue to deliver comprehensive risk management in our commissioning and procurement processes, setting an example to organisations in and beyond Newcastle to consider the potential impact of their own supply chain activity in areas of increased risk of slavery and human trafficking.

9. Useful Links:

Modern Slavery Helpline
Safeguarding in Newcastle
National Referral Mechanism Guidance
National Crime Agency
Anti Slavery International
Stop the Traffik

This statement is made by Newcastle City Council with reference to Section 54 of the modern Slavery Act 2015. It covers the financial year ending 31 March 2022 and will be reviewed by senior officers during this period.

Signed: Tony Kirkham.
Director of Resources.


Did you know?

During 2019, 10,627 potential victims were referred to the National Referral Mechanism. 2949 of these were made by UK Local Authorities. 2020 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery

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