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Slavery and human trafficking statement

Introduction

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“act”) was introduced to help eradicate slavery, forced labour and human trafficking in the operations and supply chains of companies. This statement is made pursuant to Section 54, Part 6 of the Act and includes information about the Jisc group, its own operations and supply chains, and how we are approaching the eradication of slavery and human trafficking within our business.

Our commitment

Jisc is committed to preventing and mitigating exploitation, bribery and corruption. We will not accept modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking anywhere within our operations or supply chain. As part of our corporate social responsibility strategy, we have committed to undertaking a risk analysis of our supply chain to inform a plan to improve transparency and accountability in our supply chain. A working group has been constituted to further develop our approach to combatting modern slavery.

Jisc group structure

The Jisc group includes Jisc as the parent company with two active subsidiary companies: Jisc Services Limited and Jisc Commercial Limited. A number of dormant companies exist in the Jisc group which will be wound up during 2021-221.

Jisc is the only company in the Jisc group which is required to produce a slavery and human trafficking statement, though the risk areas and activities outlined in this statement apply equally to all companies in the Jisc group.

What Jisc does

We are the UK’s digital agency for lifelong learning and research. Our vision is for the UK to be world leaders in technology for education and research.

We deliver e-infrastructure services, solutions to enable education and research, advice and guidance and new solutions through research and development. Our work is UK wide, providing services and support to universities, colleges, schools, research institutes and many other national institutions.

We are a membership organisation, working to deliver considerable collective digital advantage, financial savings and efficiencies for our members, ensuring these benefits are sustained and enhanced and to do all this as affordably, efficiently and as cost effectively as possible.

Jisc operations

We directly employ more than 870 staff across the UK, as a combination of office-based staff and home-workers. We are confident that our own operations are free of modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking.

Colleagues across the Jisc group work under comparable terms and conditions that are in accordance with UK employment law and we are an accredited Living Wage Employer.

The move to home-based working as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemichas resulted in staff being moved to hybrid contracts, based on a combination of home and office-based working.

Health, safety and wellbeing support is in place for all staff including access to a network of Mental Health First Aiders and specialist counselling support.

Policies

We have a range of employment policies in place which ensure that our employees are fairly treated, supported, remunerated and understand the behaviour expected by the organisation. 

Supply chains and risk areas

We have a team of procurement specialists managing procurement processes.  The suppliers we use to deliver our activities, and our own operations, are primarily EU based. 

We contract with a range of suppliers, from large international IT companies to local cleaning and catering companies. Our risk analysis of our supply chain will allow us a better understanding of supply contracts where there is a greater risk of exploitation. 

We also create, negotiate and have access to a series of frameworks - umbrella agreements put in place with a group of suppliers who fit certain criteria and in accordance with the EU public contracts regulations 2015. These frameworks are available to our members, who rely on us to have completed modern slavery compliance checks on suppliers. We are exploring how we can improve our oversight of these suppliers.

Due diligence

As part of our approach to maintaining a supply chain that is free of modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking, we require all commercial organisations bidding for Jisc work to provide a copy or link to their anti-slavery statement.

Where such a statement does not exist (for example, where the bidder does not meet the Act’s criteria for a statement to be produced), we require a statement from the bidder confirming that it is committed to and acts according to the moral principles of the Act. Our own modern slavery policy is shared with suppliers during procurement processes.

Through our standard contract we require suppliers to report any breach or suspected breach of the Act associated with our contract to us immediately. We reserve our rights to terminate contracts with suppliers in the event that there is evidence of non-compliance with the Act. Opportunities to develop our approach further are being reviewed.

Training and awareness raising

Awareness raising amongst our employees is key to ensuring that risk areas are recognised and employees know what to do if they become aware of any concern associated with exploitation.

All staff are required to complete a mandatory modern slavery awareness training course on our training platform. The Modern Slavery policy and this statement are also actively shared with all staff to help colleagues understand their responsibility as individuals to report behaviour which they believe suggests a breach of the Act.

Our Whistleblowing Policy includes appropriate guidance for staff in reporting any suspicion of inappropriate or illegal behaviours.

Actions in the last reporting year

In the last reporting year, we have:

  • Established a Modern Slavery working group to develop our approach to combatting modern slavery and to monitor progress against our Modern Slavery objectives and policy.
  • Required all staff to complete a mandatory modern slavery awareness training module on our learning platform 
  • Registered with the Home Office modern slavery registry and uploaded our 2019-21 modern slavery statement
  • Updated our annual supplier check program to include reviewing our supplier’s Modern Slavery statements
  • Maintained our affiliate membership of Electronics Watch, a monitoring organisation to audit the supply chain of technology components
  • Appointed a corporate social responsibility consultant to undertake a risk analysis of Jisc’s supply chain and create an action plan to improve transparency and accountability

We have not received any reports of potential or actual breaches of the Act and no procurements or contracts have been terminated as a result of concerns regarding compliance with the Act.

Future plans

In the coming future we will:

  • Work with our corporate social responsibility consultant to complete a risk analysis of our supply chain and create an action plan to improve transparency and accountability
  • Identify key performance measures regarding the mitigation of modern slavery in our supply chain
  • Share our Modern Slavery policy with suppliers and request that it is cascaded to their employees
  • Enhance the mandatory training on modern slavery offered to all staff
  • Enhance training available for procurement staff and contract managers
  • Review and update Modern Slavery references in our contracts
  • Continue to raise awareness of the Act within Jisc via our learning platform, presentations at staff meetings and via the Jisc procurement team

This statement will be made available on the Jisc website via a prominent link from Jisc’s homepage, alongside our Modern Slavery policy.  It will, in addition, be provided on request to all those organisations in receipt of Jisc services.