East Ayrshire Council is committed to participating in the Charter against Modern Slavery.
Our aim is to build a reputation as leaders in procurement, securing innovation, agility, value for money and quality of services from our supply base. We will develop a culture where efficiency and continuous improvement are at the heart of how we do business, and have a zero tolerance approach to slavery and human trafficking.
Our Modern Slavery Commitments set out what we commit to do to combat and prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in the Council’s corporate activities. The objective of the Commitments is to confirm the effective steps we are taking to tackle modern slavery in its supply chain.
Modern Slavery Act 2015
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 improved support and protection for victims, helped law enforcement target perpetrators and made sure those involved can be punished.
Modern slavery is an umbrella term encompassing human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced labour. Someone is in slavery if they are:
- forced to work through mental or physical threat
- owned or controlled by an employer usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse
- dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as property
- physically constrained or have restrictions placed on their freedom
There are a number of different types of exploitation that victims may be subjected to, and victims may experience more than one type of exploitation at the same time. The most common forms of exploitation are:
- sexual exploitation
- labour exploitation
- forced criminality
- organ harvesting
- domestic servitude
- debt bondage
We also aim to go beyond tackling modern slavery and human trafficking in commercial activity and agreed a multi-agency approach through the East Ayrshire Violence Against Women Partnership (EAVAWP) to address Modern Slavery through human trafficking which provides guidance for employees and members of the public on reporting awareness of these issues.
The EAVAWP has published a Human Trafficking booklet (PDF 76Kb) to raise awareness of Human Trafficking. It is aimed at employees working in East Ayrshire in contact with the general public including; East Ayrshire Council (such as; Law and Licensing Officers, Housing Officers, Leisure, Education and Social Work). Also, Police Scotland, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, third sector organisations, further education and employment agencies.
The booklet provides practical information about people who may have been trafficked and outlines how to respond to and identify key contacts for each agency, responsibilities and information about national and local arrangements to appropriately respond to the needs of trafficked people.
We have committed to:
- training our Corporate Procurement Team and Contract Administrators to understand modern slavery
- making sure our suppliers, contractors and service providers comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (wherever it applies), with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance
- challenge any abnormally low tenders to ensure the low cost is not as a result of exploitive labour
- highlight to our suppliers, contractors and service providers that their workers are free to join a trade union and are not treated unfairly for belonging to one
- publicising a whistleblowing policy both for our staff and suppliers, contractors and service providers staff which will enable staff to take appropriate action to report any suspected incidences of modern slavery
- ensure that our contracted suppliers, contractors and service providers adopt a whistleblowing policy which will enable their staff to take appropriate action to report any suspected incidences of modern slavery
- review our spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery
- highlight to our suppliers, contractors and service providers any risks identified and will refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed
- refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency referral service any of our suppliers, contractors or service providers who are identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery
- provide a statement within our Annual Procurement Report on the implementation of the Charter commitments
Modern slavery reporting
If you suspect there are any instances of modern slavery, please report it online via the GOV.UK website.