24 January 2019
Modern slavery is a hidden issue; the Home Office estimated that in 2013 there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK. This means that there is a chance that modern slavery is taking place here in Medway without our knowledge.
This council welcomes the recognition of this issue by the archbishop of Canterbury on his recent visit to Medway.
This council notes the hard work of the Co-operative Party, local government procurement teams, and NGOs to develop a new charter which aims to ensure there is no place for modern day slavery in the supply chains used by local authorities.
This charter proposes that each council shall:
- Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply's (CIPS) online course on ethical procurement and supply.
- Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.
- Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.
- Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.
- Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.
- Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.
- Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.
- Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.
- Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency's national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.
- Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually.
This council resolves to:
Support the Co-operative Party's charter against modern slavery and ask the cabinet to arrange the implementation of the charter.
The portfolio holder for sesources, Councillor Gulvin, supported by Councillor Etheridge, proposed the following amendment:
Paragraph 3, line 1: Delete 'the Co-operative Party, local government procurement teams, and NGOs' and replace with 'multiple organisations'
Paragraph 3, line 2: Delete 'which aims'
Paragraph 4, bullet point 10: After 'on the implementation of this policy annually.' insert 'This council notes that it already has in place rigorous procedures in order to comply with the above charter and prevent the inclusion of modern day slavery through any of the council's supply chains. Such measures include:
- Full time members of the procurement team undertake the CIPS's online course on ethical procurement and supply annually.
- The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is included in the council's standard documentation based on a pass/fail criteria for compliance.
- The Procurement team use the abnormally low calculator (ALC) to challenge low bids from contractors during the tender process, in line with article 69 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
- The council includes in its tender documentation that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.
- The council has a comprehensive whistle-blowing system, enshrined in the council's constitution and readily available on the council's website. The need for contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy is also included in tender documentation.
- All of the council's corporate spend is channelled through the category management team, whereby all new areas of spend are benchmarked to ensure none are abnormally low and therefore require further scrutiny.
- The procurement team is aware and highlights when appropriate; any risks identified concerning modern slavery for its suppliers, and refers them to the relevant agencies to be addressed; the National Crime Agency's national referral mechanism and the referral of any of the council's contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.'
Paragraph 5, line 1: Delete everything after 'This council resolves to:' and replace with 'Continue to uphold its high standards to ensure that this council complies with the charter.'
On being put to the vote, the amendment was carried and became the substantive motion.
Votes by Councillor
The following councillors voted in favour of the amendment:
The following councillors voted against the amendment:
The following councillors were absent from the vote:
To view the list of councillors who voted in favour or against the amendment, those who abstained and those who were absent, click on the appropriate heading.