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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’.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
The Council provides training for staff and partners involved in person centred services where Modern Slavery may present.
Professor Steven Broomhead
Warrington Borough Council