Modern slavery is the offence of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking. It is an abhorrent crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. Economic Solutions (ES) and its subsidiaries commit to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in the way we conduct our business. We strive to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in our supply chain or in any of our business activities and take a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery in all its forms. We look to our partners, customers, suppliers, associates and contractors to adopt and commit to these same principles.
This statement sets out the steps that ES has taken during the financial year ended 31 March 2016 to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in our supply chain or in any part of our business. This statement additionally sets out how we will continue to build on our assurance in tackling modern slavery.
ES is a group of companies whose purpose is to drive forward Greater Manchester’s economic development. Our mission is to Enable Growth, Create Jobs and Improve Lives.
ES is accountable to the GM Combined Authority (GMCA) and the GM Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). ES is an economic development strategy-driven and commercially-focussed organisation which reinvests any surpluses to achieve its aims. ES delivers a wide range of business and people-facing services across the country. These include:
- Business start-up, business growth, inward investment, business finance, and international trade services
- Skills training for individuals and businesses
- Organisational development services
- Non-for-profit, ethical recruitment agency
- Employment services
- Careers advice and guidance
- Official Tourist Board for Greater Manchester.
- Promotion of Greater Manchester nationally and internationally
Our Business Values and Supply Chain
ES’s supply chain involves a range of goods and services, including office and business supplies and services, and professional services. ES seeks to work responsibly and with integrity, as demonstrated by our group policies and procedures, including our Procurement Policy and Recruitment and Selection Policy. Our Work and Skills Divisions operate a Safeguarding Policy, with associated guidance, procedures and training. In addition, our Whistleblowing Policy ensures that all our workers, customers and business partners can report any concerns related to ES activities.
We consider social value to be central to our business values and have adopted the principles set out in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Social Value Policy. We aim to drive positive outcomes too in delivering economic, social and environmental benefits in the way we conduct our business and through our commissioning and procurement activities.
One of the ES trading companies is a recruitment agency, Aspire Recruitment (http://aspirerecruitment.org.uk/). As a labour provider, we put ethical conduct at the heart of what we do. We operate a not-for-profit, ethical recruitment agency and our procedures include due diligence checks to prevent the occurrence of labour exploitation. These checks include documentation checks, reference checks and ensure clients are paid directly into a personal bank account.
Building on our Commitment
ES and its subsidiaries are working together to continue to ensure that modern slavery has no part in our business or our supply chain. We understand that tackling modern slavery requires our continuous effort, vigilance and review. Our key areas of approach to tackle modern slavery are outlined below:
Our Supply Chain – we are committed to responsible procurement practice and will work to strengthen our capacity to identify and prevent the risk of modern slavery in our supply chain. We will further develop our approach to responsible purchasing, and will build on our existing due diligence procedures, our sourcing procedures, and our contracting to mitigate the risk of modern slavery.
Our Business – we will review the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking in our business operations and put in appropriate measures to mitigate the risk of these crimes. We will build on our values, to make a positive difference to businesses, communities and individuals that we work with. We will use our influence to encourage and support the businesses we work with to help us in tackling modern slavery.
Our Recruitment Practices – we will review and update our recruitment processes to further mitigate any risks of modern slavery or trafficking.
Awareness Raising - with our staff, our customers, clients, suppliers and partners. We appreciate that modern slavery may not be easy to identify, or to deal with. We will develop our Safeguarding Framework to spot the signs of labour exploitation and act on them appropriately.
Training - we will equip our staff, partners and associates with the training, systems and tools to identify, deter and report suspected instances of of modern slavery.
This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes Economic Solutions and subsidiaries’ slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 31st March 2016. It has been approved and authorised by the Chair of Economic Solutions on 15th December 2016.