With 40.3 million victims estimated by the Global Slavery Index 2016 there are now more people enslaved than there have ever been in human history.

With the launch of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the UK has set the standard in legislative terms in not only increasing penalties for people found guilty of exploitation and slavery but also instilling a requirement on business to ensure that the demand for goods and services they generate is not delivered with exploitation embedded.

The SCF Framework contractors are committed to conducting all aspects of business in an ethical and transparent manner and acknowledge the duties and responsibilities under the Act.

Raising awareness of ethical supply chain practices is fundamental to the success of the SCF Framework. With a specific focus on identifying exploitative practices, namely slavery and human trafficking, the framework contractors are continually training the key personnel and supply chain involved in tier 2 + procurements, to prevent incidences on their sites.

Key challenges

The identification of exploitative practices is vital to SCF and to eradicate these practices, appropriate steps need to be taken to ensure those with procurement responsibilities are provided with sufficient training to identify and challenge any suspicious practices.

SCF values require that all workers are treated with dignity and respect. The framework is fundamentally opposed to slavery, human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, the sale or exploitation of children and all exploitative practices in the workplace. These values are shared by the framework contractors, responsible for ensuring all sub-contractors and suppliers do not engage in any such practices, and do not knowingly themselves contract with third parties which do.

Delivery

Relevant employees within ISG/BAM businesses (including those working in supply chain, procurement, human resources, health & safety and senior on-site roles) are required to complete a modern slavery and human trafficking e-Learning training course. This course covers the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, obligations, supply chain expectations and the potential consequences for non-compliance. Both ISG and BAM operate a confidential ‘speak-up’ hotline, which allows staff and stakeholders to report any concerns or issues.

Furthermore, ISG and BAM are both key partners of the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS). The school is a collaboration between clients, contractors and 1st tier suppliers who have a mutual interest in building the skills of our supply chain. In 2018, ISG and BAM both utilised the SCSS resources to deliver the following Modern Slavery Workshops.

Introduction to Modern Slavery.
The course can be attended by anyone who needs to understand what Modern Slavery is, how to spot the signs and understand the risks of slavery within the supply chain. Hosted by Helen Carter, who was recently named in the Top 100 Modern Slavery Influencers in the UK, the face-to-face training day is a great platform to raise awareness.

Using Supply Chains to Combat Modern Slavery
This workshop provides construction specific training to procurement influencers. Contextualising slavery on a worldwide scale and relating it to site activities, resourcing and materials procurement to make the clear connection between slavery and corporate responsibilities in the procurement of construction resource.

SCSS have fully supported ISG and BAM, to further upskill 65 individuals responsible for procurement, management and wider supply chain activities on the SCF framework, plus MS awareness training of high risk key trades, comprising 22 supply chain partners, with more workshops planned across the SCF region.

Lessons Learnt

The Supply chain sustainability school course provided workers with key identifiers of potentially unethical employment practices and made the individuals aware of the legislation that supports challenges to suspicious employment.

The training encouraged discussion of unethical practices and culminated in an overwhelming consensus that all attendees would feel confident in contacting the whistleblowing hotline to report suspicious on-site practices and ask vital procurement questions at both enquiry and order stages.

The training reinforced the contractors’ commitments to their anti-slavery and human trafficking policies and gave rise to the continual review of procedures across the framework.

Recipients of the course material were able to ask questions and improve their ability to easily spot the illegal working practices, understanding why unethical employers are making them harder to identify. There was also a focus on understanding how to implement certain working procedures along the supply chain and ensuring compliance with the ‘supply chain commitment’ for tier three, four and five companies.

Benefits

With the Modern Slavery Act 2015 applying to all organisations, regardless of size, we all need to consider how we can work our supply chains to tackle modern slavery, as this is an issue no one company, or industry, can tackle alone.Both BAM and ISG have further promoted the workshops within their businesses. They see the course as an accessible and informative training session to help implement anti-slavery practices, in line with their company policies.
The course has given individuals an understanding that a failure to comply with the Act, and/or company policies will be deemed to be a material breach of the terms of standard commercial agreements and contracts of employment.
The overall feedback on the SCSS course has been very positive with:

  • 100% of attendees said they now had a better understanding of Modern Slavery and how to spot the signs
  • 98% of attendees said they now had a better idea of the practical steps they could take to combat Modern Slavery
  • 98% of attendees said that the quality of the workshop content was either good or excellent with none rating it less than satisfactory
  • 91% of attendees said they were going to implement change / the training received into their business

The contractors have requested that the Supply Chain Sustainability School delivers additional sessions during regional ‘Meet the Buyer’ events and see this activity as vital in building a strong, safe and ethically sound future for the SCF.

For more information on modern slavery and human trafficking, visit:
https://www.supplychainschool.co.uk/default/modern-slavery.aspx