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MODERN SLAVERY ACT TRANSPARENCY STATEMENT 2019/20

 

1. INTRODUCTION

  1. Modern slavery is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. It takes various forms, such as slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, all of which have in common the deprivation of a person’s liberty by another in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.
  2. The University of Chester is committed to improving its practices to combat slavery and human trafficking.
  3. This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes our slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 31st July 2020. For the purposes of this statement, the University of Chester includes its wholly owned subsidiary companies.

2. OUR BUSINESS AND ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

  1. The University was founded as Chester Diocesan Training College in 1839 and established by Deed dated 13th January 1843, which was further regulated, augmented, supplemented and varied by Deeds and Schemes from 19th February 1858 onwards.
  2. On 22nd July 2005 Her Majesty’s Privy Council approved use of the name University by the institution.
  3. Chester Diocesan Board of Finance is the University’s custodian trustee and the Members of the University Council are the University’s management trustees. The University Council is responsible for setting and approving the University’s mission, strategy and policies and the Chief Executive (Vice-Chancellor) is responsible for managing the day to day operations of the University, supported by the University’s Strategic Executive Team.
  4. The University is a non-exempt charity registered under Charity Number 525938.

    Principal Activities of the University

  5. The principal activity of the University is the provision of higher education and related teaching and research. The University currently has a population of over 16,500 students and 1,600 full and part time staff across several sites drawn from across the UK and internationally. The University is composed of seven academic faculties sub-divided into departments and research centres in a wide range of discipline areas, supported by professional services and administrative departments.
  6. The University has an annual income of £119.7 million of which approximately 30% is spent on average on goods, services and works through various supply chains each year.

    Values and Commitments

  7. The University’s mission, institutional values and commitments are embedded in its Corporate Plan: Vision 2020 and the University has a number of workplace policies and procedures which embed these values into its day-to-day activities.

3. OUR SUPPLY CHAINS

  1. Employment of Staff

    Most of the University’s personnel resource is directly employed; few services are outsourced or supplied through agencies. The University mitigates the risk of modern slavery occurring by ensuring that directly employed staff are recruited following robust HR recruitment and candidate selection policies. Temporary staff (including students seeking part-time paid employment) are recruited predominantly by means of the University’s own bank of available staff. There is a whistleblowing policy through which staff can raise concerns.

  2. Staff recruited indirectly by the University or outsourced staff are only recruited through established and accredited sources who can provide assurance that they fully comply with the requirements of all legislation relating to the rights and welfare of their candidates and employees.

    Students

  3. 3.3 Although the risks of students experiencing occurrences of modern slavery or human trafficking through direct contact with the University are extremely low, it is recognised that whilst living in Chester and Warrington and surrounding areas, they may become aware of such instances or rarely be entrapped into adopting a lifestyle of modern slavery. In order to mitigate these circumstances the University has in place easily accessible and well publicised channels through which students can obtain assistance, support and advice on their wellbeing.

    Supply Chain and Procurement

  4. 3.4 The University has a supplier database of over 5,500 suppliers procured either through a regional Higher Education purchasing consortium, NWUPC, or through direct contracting pursuant to the University’s procurement policies and procedures. All procurement activities are supported and managed centrally by the University’s Procurement Services team, which is located in the University’s Finance Directorate.
  5. 3.5 University tender documents include questions asking potential suppliers if they are required to publish a Modern Slavery Act statement and if they are, whether they are compliant with the reporting requirements.
  6. 3.6 NWUPC Ltd is an affiliate member of Electronics Watch on behalf of its members including University of Chester. Electronics Watch is an independent monitoring organisation set up with the purpose of protecting the rights of workers within supply chains.
  7. 3.7 The University actively promotes the NETpositive Supplier Engagement tool enabling suppliers to develop a free Sustainability action plan. Within the action plan suppliers are asked about their commitment to Modern Slavery. There are 437 University of Chester suppliers currently registered on the NETpositive tool, of which 433 have stated they are “Aware of Modern Slavery” and 192 “have made a public commitment to taking action against Modern Slavery.”

4. OUR POLICIES ON SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

  1. The University is committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in its supply chains or in any part of its business. The University keeps under review its workplace policies and procedures to ensure their effectiveness in identifying and tackling modern slavery issues. The University has also adopted a Corporate Social Responsibility Policy and an Anti-Slavery Policy which reflect the University’s commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all of its business relationships and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure slavery and human trafficking does not take place anywhere in its supply chains.
  2. Awareness and understanding of the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking in the University’s supply chains and business will be raised through the provision of appropriate staff training.

5. DUE DILIGENCE PROCESSES FOR SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

As part of the University’s initiative to identify and mitigate risk, the University intends to put systems in place to:

  • identify and assess potential risk areas in its supply chains
  • mitigate the risk of slavery and human trafficking occurring in its supply chains; and
  • monitor potential risk areas in its supply chains

6. OUR EFFECTIVENESS IN COMBATING SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

  1. The University is committed to greater understanding, transparency and responsibility towards people working within its supply chains.
  2. Notwithstanding the steps already identified above, the University intends to take the following further steps to combat slavery and human trafficking:
    • the ongoing implementation and enforcement of effective systems and controls to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place anywhere in its supply chains;
    • procurement services will engage further with University suppliers to promote the NETpositive Supplier Engagement tool and encourage an increase in reported actions in relation to Modern Slavery with their supply chains.
    • the continued development of awareness of modern slavery within the Procurement Services team; and
    • the ongoing provision of guidance and training to staff.

 

Professor EA Simmons
Vice-Chancellor and Principal