Modern slavery statement
What is modern slavery?
Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain. It is where someone is made to do something, and another person gains from what they do. It includes human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour.
Modern slavery can affect anybody regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. Children are particularly vulnerable, and if a child is exploited through modern slavery, it is child abuse.
Modern slavery is not new, and it can happen anywhere – no community or neighbourhood is free from it. Those impacted might not be able to get away for lots of reasons.
The Modern Slavery Act (2015) sets out the offences under human trafficking and slavery:
- slavery is where ownership is applied to a person
- servitude involves coercion or bullying to make someone provide services
- forced and compulsory labour is where a person works or provides services they haven’t volunteered to do, or they will be punished
- human trafficking involves arranging or helping someone to travel with a view to using or exploiting them
What can be done to prevent modern slavery?
Everyone can play a role in trying to end modern slavery.
There are several signs to look out for. Someone who is experiencing modern slavery may:
- be forced or coerced to carry out specific activities
- have their movements or social lives controlled by someone else
- seem to be being paid very little or nothing, or having money taken from their salary
- have little or no contact with family or loved ones
- be distrustful or worried about dealing with authorities
- show signs of physical or psychological abuse or have untreated medical conditions
- have threats made against themselves, family members or loved ones
- not have access to their own legal documents
- live in poor accommodation and/or have little or no personal things or possessions
If you are concerned you have seen signs of modern slavery, you can:
- report incidents by calling 999 in an emergency, or 101 in a non-emergency
- seek 24-hour advice from the Modern Slavery & Exploitation Helpline on 08000 121 700
- if you are concerned about a child being exploited, contact the police and/or us on 0300 300 8585
What we're doing to combat modern slavery
We have responsibilities as an employer and an organisation that buys products, works, and services.
We also have duties to:
- notify the Secretary of State of any suspected victims of slavery or human trafficking (as introduced by section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015)
- take action and work with other responder agencies (Civil Contingencies Act 2004) if we find any instances of modern slavery
This is something we take very seriously, and we will always work with other agencies, such as the police if we encounter any examples in our work.
Another part of our duty means that we need to keep our policies and procedures up to date. This includes the following.
Multi-agency adult safeguarding policy, practice and procedures
We have a joint Safeguarding Adults Board with Bedford Borough Council, and along with a wide range of agencies, we develop, implement and monitor work to safeguard people with care and support needs from abuse, maltreatment and neglect.
As part of The Care Act 2014, we must:
- make enquiries, or cause others to do so, if we believe an adult is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect
- set up a Safeguarding Adults Board
- arrange, where appropriate, for an independent advocate to represent and support an adult who is the subject of a safeguarding enquiry or Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR) where the adult has "substantial difficulty" in being involved in the process and where there is no other suitable person to represent and support them
- co-operate with each of its relevant partners (as set out in Section 6 of the Care Act) in order to protect the adult
The Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board’s Policy, Practice and Procedures provide a framework for delivery of the functions of the Safeguarding Adults Board, which are to promote wellbeing, prevent harm and respond effectively to safeguarding concerns.
Community Safety Partnership
Safer Central is Central Bedfordshire’s community safety partnership (CSP) and tackles joint issues with partners for sustainable improvements and positive outcomes for the community. Safer Central consults with partners, stakeholders and the community to assess the risks and threats every year. The partnership currently has three priorities, including protecting the vulnerable – with a focus on modern-day slavery, trafficking, and preventing child sexual exploitation.
Our Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedure is published and regularly reviewed. It provides a framework of principles for the recruitment and selection of staff. This includes appropriate checks on identity, taking up references and checking new employees’ rights to work in the UK.
We use only reputable employment agencies to source temporary staff.
We have a Whistleblowing (Confidential Reporting) policy to encourage staff to feel confident in raising concerns about service provision or the conduct of officers, councillors or others acting on our behalf, and to protect staff from possible reprisals or victimisation if they report such concerns.
Risk assessment and due diligence
The risk of modern slavery in our direct supply chains is considered low. We do, however, recognise the potential risks in the supply chain of goods, services and works we procure. Section 7 of our Standard Selection Questionnaire (PT17) ensures suppliers tendering to us are compliant with the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. We continue to review whether further steps are required to ensure risks of modern slavery are removed from the procurement process.
Training and development
We have a programme of mandatory training that all staff are required to take. This is delivered via our e-learning system. As part of this, all staff are required to undertake annual domestic abuse awareness training, which includes guidance on what signs may indicate modern slavery could be occurring. We also have an online course specifically covering modern slavery and trafficking, with another on gang-related Issues and county lines, covering "county lines exploitation" and its connection to human trafficking, modern slavery and forced labour.