BCC Modern Slavery Statement

Introduction

Modern slavery is the illegal exploitation of people for personal or commercial gain.

Buckinghamshire County Council remains committed to tackling Modern Slavery and other forms of exploitation through effective partnership working (prevention, identification, awareness raising, information sharing & enforcement). The County Council recognises its duty, as set out in Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, to notify the Secretary of State of anyone suspected of being a victim of slavery of trafficking.

The County Council is also taking steps to ensure that our corporate activities, both directly provided and commissioned or outsourced, are free from slavery and human trafficking.

This statement sets out the steps being taken by Buckinghamshire County Council to help detect modern slavery should it arise in our own services, businesses and our supply chains. It covers all direct employees, agency workers and contracted out staff.

 

Modern Slavery

The term Modern Slavery encompasses a wide range of abuse and all forms of exploitation; this includes:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Forced labour
  • Criminal exploitation
  • Domestic servitude
  • Financial exploitation


Modern Slavery has until quite recently been a largely hidden crime but is now the focus of specific Police action and collaborative working across the public sector.

There is no typical victim of Modern Slavery and they can be any age, gender, nationality and ethnicity. Some may not recognise themselves as victims and that they could be entitled to help and support. There may be a language barrier, so victims are not able to communicate, may have had their travel documents taken away from them and may be threatened with violence to themselves or their families if they do not cooperate.

The Modern Slavery Statement contributes to our core aim of “Safeguarding our vulnerable” as set out in BCC’s Strategic Plan 2017-2020. It shows our public commitment and wider ambition to play our collaborative part in reducing this horrendous modern crime.

 

About Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC)

Buckinghamshire County Council is an upper tier local government body with responsibility for the County of Buckinghamshire, which geographically encompasses the districts of Aylesbury Vale, Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks.

 

Facts and Figures

  • £122.6 million capital to be spent on schools, roads, flood protection and more in 2018/19
  • 528,000 residents
  • £320 million revenue spend annually
  • 86% of the populations are of White ethnicity, the remaining 14% are defined as Black, Asian, Mixed or “Other”

Council structure and supply chains

The business operations of the County Council are structured across four Business Units:

  • Communities, Health and Adult Social Care
  • Children’s Services
  • Transport, Economy and Environment
  • Headquarters (encompassing Resources, Governance, Communications, Member
    Services, Technology Services etc)


The County Council holds a central register of all its contracts and procures goods and services from a variety of suppliers.

Relevant Policies

The following County Council policies enable us to better identify risks around exploitation such as modern slavery and human trafficking:

  • Whistleblowing – to enable reporting of concerns about a danger or illegality that has a public interest to it, usually because it threatens others.
  • Grievance – to enable reporting of any problem or complaint about work, working conditions or relationships with other employees.
  • Health and Attendance – to identify where health, wellbeing and work-life balance is causing an issue for an employee.
  • Conduct and Discipline – to ensure that a high standard of conduct and behaviour is maintained by all staff.
  • Diversity and Equality – to ensure fair treatment of all employees and service users.
  • Contract Standing Orders- The purpose of these orders is to provide clarity as to the requirements for commercial decisions in order to safeguard the council from potential claims that put into question the integrity of the council and its staff.
  • Legal Services Standard Contract Terms and Conditions - These are used for the County Council contracts where instructed and have an appropriate clause including obligations on suppliers to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
  • Assurance and Risk Whilst the level of risk within County Council activities is low we will continue to monitor the level of risk in supply chains and activities and continue to work closely with partner agencies in order to develop an effective response to Modern Slavery.


All policies are reviewed regularly to ensure that they remain up to date, compliant and fit for purpose. As appropriate, policies are developed with input from senior managers, unions, legal and HR.

Due Diligence and Risk Management

The County Council undertakes due diligence when considering taking on new suppliers and regularly reviews its existing suppliers and contracts. This is the responsibility of the individual contract managers. Due diligence includes appropriate mandatory selection questions (for contracts above £181,000) within tender assessment criteria. Should any provider of services to the County Council be found to have knowingly participated in modern slavery steps will immediately be taken to terminate the contract. We will review the statement annually and delegate to CHASC Executive Director to make amendments as necessary to reflect current Council operating practices and initiatives.

Training and Awareness

The County Council has taken a pro-active and leading role in facilitating, developing and delivering training on Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking and other areas of exploitation. Our strategy for training enables us to identify those who would benefit from training, both within the council and in agencies with whom we interact.


The existing training is primarily face to face for frontline practitioners and is delivered by a charitable organisation that provides bespoke support to victims of exploitation, their families and others at risk. There is an e-learning package being finalised for non-frontline staff and new starters. Both types of training include how to identify, refer and support victims.

Partnership Working

The County Council has a long history of being committed to and working with partners to tackle crime and disorder across Buckinghamshire. There is a County level Community Safety Strategy Group, called the Safer and Stronger Bucks Partnership Board which is managed by the County Council (Community Safety Team). This brings together the three local / district based Community Safety Partnerships to enable collaboration and reduction of duplication.


An example of how this works for Modern Slavery is that the County Council leads a countywide Anti-Slavery and Exploitation Network (the Bucks A-SEN) which brings together over twenty separate organisations, from the public, private and voluntary sector. The network meets at least quarterly to help deliver against the aims of the Buckinghamshire Adult Exploitation Strategy 2017-20 with the following key work areas:

  • Training of frontline staff
  • Intelligence gathering and sharing
  • Tackling perpetrators
  • Developing victims service provision


The Partnership Board is also signed up to a countywide Joint Protocol which has been developed to underpin and strengthen partnership work between four key boards in Buckinghamshire:

  • Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board
  • Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board
  • Buckinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board
  • Safer and Stronger Bucks Partnership Board


The protocol’s purpose is to ensure a transparent, efficient and clear process for the sharing of knowledge, skills, information and resources. It clarifies the distinct roles and responsibilities of each Board, their inter-relationships and the means by which they will secure effective co-ordination and coherence over shared priorities and common ground.

Appendix

The Modern Slavery Statement contributes to our core aim of “Safeguarding our vulnerable” as set out in BCC’s Strategic Plan 2017-2020. It shows our public commitment and wider ambition to play our collaborative part in reducing this horrendous modern crime.

BCC Strategic Plan 2017-2020

Bucks Exploitation Strategy 2017-2020

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