Warrington Borough Council recognises its duties under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and supports its implementation. The council is an active member of Cheshire Anti-Slavery network and supports the implementation of the Cheshire Anti -Slavery strategy and associated plans.
This statement sets out the Council’s actions to understand potential modern slavery risks related to its business and put in place steps aimed at ensuring there is no slavery or human trafficking in its own business and its supply chains.
The Council provides a wide range of statutory and discretionary services for its residents, businesses, visitors and wider public and consequently purchases a wide range of goods and services from third party suppliers. In 2018/19 the Council conducted business with over 2,700 suppliers.
Modern slavery is a crime resulting in an abhorrent abuse of human rights. It is constituted in the Modern Slavery Act 2015 by the offences of ‘slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour’ and ‘human trafficking’.
- Forced labour
Forced work, against a victim’s will, for little or no pay, often in dire conditions and under threat of verbal or physical threats of violence
- Debt bondage
Victims forced to work to pay off debts with no realistic chance that this will ever be possible
- Sexual exploitation
Victims forced to perform non-consensual or abuse sexual acts, through coercion or threats of harm, including; prostitution, escort work and pornography
- Criminal exploitation
Victims forced into crimes against their will for the material gain of others
- Domestic servitude
Victims forced to carry out housework and domestic chores in private households, for little or no pay, restricted movement, very limited or no free time, and minimal privacy or facilities
- Human trafficking
Involving the transportation, recruitment, receipt or harbouring of people for the purposes of exploitation - as, but not limited to, the above
The Council recognises that it has a responsibility to take a robust approach to slavery and human trafficking. In addition to the Council’s responsibility as an employer, it also acknowledges its duty as a Council to notify the Secretary of State of suspected victims of slavery or human trafficking as introduced by section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The Council is absolutely committed to preventing slavery and human trafficking in its corporate activities and to ensuring that its supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking. The below sets out practices already in place at the Council and any committed actions set for 2019/20 in response to the Modern Slavery Act.
Policies in relation to slavery and human trafficking
Due diligence processes in relation to slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains:
In November 2016 the Cabinet Office introduced the Supplier Selection Questionnaire to be used in all tenders over the EU thresholds, this requires suppliers to declare any involvement in modern slavery, and such companies will not be accepted as a supplier.
The Council’s Procurement Strategy, approved in September 2017, formalised the Council’s approach to addressing Modern Slavery in the Supply Chain.
The Council has built self-declarations regarding compliance with the Council’s policies on modern slavery into its e-procurement system for all tenders. It has developed self-declarations of compliance with modern slavery legislation to be completed for all organisations in order to be established as suppliers on the Council’s payment system, the Council will ordinarily not do business with organisations which have not completed the declaration.
Steps taken to that it assess and manage the risk of modern slavery in the supply chain
Although almost 65% of the suppliers the Council does business with have a presence in Warrington, the Council’s supply chains stretch across the world. Raw materials and components can come from sources anywhere in the world and there may be many links in the supply chain which could be involved in modern slavery. The Council has limited resources to monitor and manage the supply chain and has to concentrate on the immediate supplier and to require in its contracts that suppliers ensure that their supply chain is free from modern slavery.
The Council has built clauses regarding modern slavery into all new contracts, allowing termination of the contract if these clauses are breached.
The Council will continue to undertake mapping of the various sectors of supply and undertake risk analysis of each area and investigate risk mitigation procedures.
The Council will continue to deliver training for all staff involved in contract management and contract monitoring to ensure that staff are aware of the signs of modern slavery and how to report concerns to the relevant persons
Modern Slavery Strategy 2019-20
In 2017, a new pan-Cheshire Modern Slavery Strategy was ratified by Cheshire Police and the four Councils of Warrington, Halton, East and West Cheshire.
The purpose of this document is to set out our strategic approach in how we intend to continue to develop the good work already happening locally. It will help us to work collectively and collaboratively to prevent, identify, disrupt, stop and permanently eradicate modern slavery in all its forms, and will result in our boroughs being an even safer and happier place to live
Within that document, and the Action Plan that underpins it, the steps that we will take include the following:
- Maximising links between the policies and strategies that deal with exploitation, homelessness and other relevant issues
- Ensuring that information is shared, both locally and nationally, for effective co-ordination and services
- Raising awareness across our communities, and faith and voluntary sectors, to help them identify where there might be issues and ensure that they know how to report and making comprehensive training about modern slavery and human trafficking available to all of our staff
Warrington Anti Slavery network
Warrington Borough Council hosts an active local Modern Slavery network which links to the Cheshire Anti Slavery network and Warrington Safeguarding Adults Board
The core purpose of the Warrington Anti-Slavery Network is:
To establish and develop a local network that aims to prevent and reduce harm caused to individuals and communities in Warrington as a result of acts of Modern Slavery through engaging key services and relevant strategic groups; with a particular focus on helping to identify, report and support victims.
Training about slavery and human trafficking available to its staff.
The Council provides training for staff and partners involved in person centred services where Modern Slavery may present.
Professor Steven Broomhead
Warrington Borough Council