Responsible Manager: Michael Devlin - Chief Governance and Transformation Officer
Date of Issue: January 2022
Date for Review: August 2022
Distribution list: Trust and Trust Website Home Page
NCS Trust is committed to the continuous improvement of its service offerings and underpinning policies and procedures. It will review the functionality of this policy and related procedures on an annual basis unless an incident warrants it being reviewed sooner or if there is new legislation or guidance that must be taken into account.
- Version: 1.0
- Date: May 2017
- Author and job title: Debra Cook, Safeguarding Manager
- Date of approval and by whom: n/a
- Next review and by whom: October 2018, Debra Cook
- Comments (changes applied): Introduction of
- Version: 2.0
- Date: September 2018
- Author and job title: Debra Cook, Safeguarding Manager
- Date of approval and by whom: November 2018
- Next review and by whom: September 2019, Debra Cook
- Comments (changes applied): Update of statement evidencing the Trust’s commitment to ensuring that there is no slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour or abuse of power with NCS and the supply chains. Evidence of systems to ensure Modern Slavery is not taking place within our network partner supply chains. Evidence of robust recruitment systems and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checking
- Version: 3.0
- Date: September 2019
- Author and job title: Debra Cook, Safeguarding Manager
- Date of approval and by whom: Amanda Best (COO), September 2019
- Next review and by whom: Amanda Best (COO), September 2020
- Comments (changes applied): Recognition of new forms of exploitation that are defined within the modern slavery field. Recognition that a child under 18 is unable to consent to any form of slavery
- Version: 4.0
- Date: September 2020
- Author and job title: Debra Cook
- Date of approval and by whom: SLT, September 2019
(not approved - required additional procurement and HR content)
- Next review and by whom: Michael Devlin, Director of Governance and Delivery / NCS Trust Board, December 2020
- Comments (changes applied): Update of Statement to address extra recruitment risks due to COVID-19 and evidence of how these risks are being mitigated
- Version: 5.0
- Date: December 2020
- Author and job title: Debra Cook, Safeguarding Manager /
James Woods, Head of Compliance & QA / Lynn Carter-Smith, Head of Procurement / Lara Olufon, People Business Partner / Clare Boston, Head of Contract Management / Kerry Viner, Senior Legal Sponsor
- Date of approval and by whom: Michael Devlin, Director of Governance and Delivery / NCS Trust Board, 3 December 2020
- Next review and by whom: Michael Devlin, Director of Governance and Delivery / NCS Trust Board, December 2021
- Comments (changes applied): Expansion of document to include additional context on supply chain structure, nature of services, due diligence and processes for preventing occurrence of modern slavery at the Trust and throughout our supply chain
- Version: 6.0
- Date: January 2022
- Author and job title: Numerous SMEs as above, coordinated by Louka Travlos, Head of Board Governance and Compliance
- Date of approval and by whom: Michael Devlin, Chief Governance and Transformation Officer / NCS Trust Board, 27 January 2022
- Next review and by whom: Michael Devlin, Chief Governance and Transformation Officer / NCS Trust Board, August 2022
- Comments (changes applied): Update of the Statement for FY 20/21, progress made and progress delayed due to Covid 19 pandemic
NCS Trust Modern Slavery Statement for the Financial Year 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021
Modern Slavery Statement
The National Citizen Service Trust (the Trust) is committed to acting ethically and with integrity within our organisation and throughout our supply chains in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the MSA). We expect the highest standards of ourselves, our suppliers and all our business partners.
The Trust is committed to ensuring that there is no slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory human labour, abuse of power over vulnerable individuals, human trafficking or any other form of exploitation as contemplated by the MSA in any part of its network. We embrace the transparency encouraged by the MSA. This statement sets out for the public, our stakeholders, suppliers and employees the steps The Trust has taken, in the financial year 2020-2021, to ensure that no slavery or human trafficking is taking place, in any part of its business or supply chain. The statement also looks to the future and identifies areas where improvements have been planned for the following financial year.
Due to challenging external and internal circumstances, primarily triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust has not progressed as planned during 2020/21, with some of its actions detailed in the Statement for 2019/2020. The Trust remains committed to taking steps to ensure there is no slavery, or any other form of exploitation as contemplated by the MSA, in any part of its organisation, network or supply chain now or in the future.
Definitions and indicators of modern slavery
Modern slavery encompasses many different types of behaviours and abuse, perpetrated against individuals, from any background and of any age. Modern slavery is abuse, and therefore is included in the Trust’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.
The terms and types of abuse that can constitute modern slavery are:
- Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour (s.1 MSA)
- Human trafficking (s.2 MSA) (the purposeful movement of a person for exploitation in whatever form. There is no minimum or maximum distance (i.e. it can be from one room to another)
- Organised crime, forced street crime, cannabis and other narcotic cultivation and production
Indicators of modern slavery include:
- Individuals not being paid for the work they undertake
- Individuals being held in debt-bondage (being told they “still” owe money after having paid off a previous debt)
- An individual’s passport being held by their “employer” in order to keep the individual at work
- Multiple benefit claimants having their benefits being paid into the same account
- An individual not having freedom of movement (i.e. Passport being taken)
- Clear exploitation of an individual by another for financial or sexual gain
Exploitation can include (in addition to the above):
- Sexual exploitation (i.e. forced into prostitution, regardless of age of the individual being exploited)
- Removal of organs
- Securing services by force, threats or deception (in particular if the individual being exploited is a child or an adult at risk). This can also include an individual being forced into committing criminal acts against their will as a possible debt-bondage process
Through its policies and practices the Trust takes into account the full spectrum of modern slavery from child sexual exploitation to labour abuse, forced labour and labour exploitation.
Child sexual exploitation is the specific targeting of children (anyone under the age of eighteen) in order to exploit them sexually. Typically this occurs with gangs of perpetrators, who may use drugs, alcohol and/or gifts to groom the child. It is important to note that with all cases of child sexual exploitation, a child is unable to consent to their own abuse.
Labour abuse includes issues such as non-payment of minimum wage, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), few or no breaks, belittling of workers and long hours are all signs of labour abuse.
Forced labour and labour exploitation involve the control, force or coercion of an individual to perform work. Indicators of labour exploitation include restrictions on movement, debt-bondage, removal of identity documents, psychological manipulation and threats of, or actual violence.
Policies to combat modern slavery
As an equal opportunities employer, the Trust is committed to creating and ensuring a non-discriminatory and respectful working environment for our staff. The Trust wants all our staff to feel confident that they can expose wrong-doing without any risk to themselves. To ensure that the Trust recruits and treats employees fairly and eliminates any possibility of modern slavery, our human resources (HR) policies set out the procedures for how the Trust:
- Recruits and selects employees in a fair, lawful and professional manner, both for internal and external candidates.
- Treat all employees fairly during their employment and, if there is an occasion when an employee does not feel that they have been treated fairly, there are procedures in place to raise a grievance or involve a local trade union, where they exist, or where this is a legal requirement to do so.
- Manages the exit of an employee from the business in a fair and consistent manner.
The Trust realises that spotting the signs of modern slavery is not always easy. Victims are often fearful of their controllers and may try to hide their situation due to fear of retribution against themselves, friends or family. Trust and partner staff need to be aware of behavioural and physical signs that victims show.
The policies below, as well as others such as our Disciplinary and Conduct and our Grievance Policy support Trust and partner staff in ensuring that modern slavery is not taking place in our supply chains or our business.
Refreshed in May 2020, describes what we must do and how we must behave to ensure we have the trust of all our stakeholders. It details how we will create better outcomes in the right way, not at any cost, in line with our purpose and values.
Sets out our commitments to speaking up about serious concerns detailing how any person working at or with the Trust, including those employed in our supply chain, can raise concerns or ‘whistleblow’ and the channels available to do so confidentially, responsibly and effectively and without fear of repercussions.
Ensures that we foster a fair and inclusive workplace, where our people are valued, their differences are respected, and all forms of discrimination are proactively opposed.
In addition to the policies above, the Trust conducts mandatory online safeguarding training for all its own staff and partner staff. This training is reviewed annually and the Trust intends to incorporate specific training around modern slavery and the indicators of abuse.
Structure of NCS and its supply chains
NCS programme delivery comprises the Trust and its network of organisations delivering youth development activities to young people from the United Kingdom primarily aged 16-17 years, but with scope to expand some activity to young people aged 15-24. The Trust also contracts with other 3rd party suppliers to support the delivery of these key activities, as well as its core functions. The Trust and its partner network place the wellbeing of young people and adults at its core, and take their responsibility to prevent modern slavery extremely seriously.
The organisation - The Trust is a Royal Charter Body with a mandate from the National Citizen Service Act (2017) to commission the National Citizen Service (NCS) which fosters social integration and supports young people in England to develop communication, leadership and team-working skills for work and life. The role of the Trust is to commission, set performance standards and effectively manage its supply chain of network partners to deliver high quality youth activities that achieve its defined social impact objectives. The Trust does not have subsidiaries or a parent company, and provides services wholly in the UK. The Trust’s head office is based in London, with further regional offices nationally. A central contact centre run by the Trust in conjunction with a third-party service provider also operates from one of our regional hubs.
Supply chain - The Trust’s supply chain of network partners consists of nine distinct regions, six of which are overseen by Tier 1 suppliers (Management Partners or MPs), each with their own Tier 2 suppliers (Delivery Partners or DPs) sitting below them. The Trust itself acts as the Management Partner in three of those regions, overseeing delivery and contracting directly with the Delivery Partners in those localities. In some cases, Delivery Partners will also have Tier 3 suppliers that are contracted to support them with their NCS delivery.
In addition to suppliers who deliver or support delivery of NCS programme activities, the Trust’s supply chain also includes suppliers who support its core functions. These organisations provide a range of goods and services such as marketing, technology, HR, research & evaluation, facilities, consumables, travel and accommodation.
Contract spend and management - The total spend with all suppliers for FY 2020-21 (01/04/2020-31/03/2021) was £59,895,675 with 89% of this spend with 15 strategic suppliers. . The Trust’s procurement, finance and contract management teams work together to ensure that payments are made to suppliers in line with their contractual terms, and are reflective of the actual services delivered.
Due diligence in relation to slavery and human trafficking
The Trust’s procurement activities are subject to the Public Contracts Regulations (2015). When procuring goods and services the Trust requires its suppliers to sign up to its own contractual Terms and Conditions. These are regularly reviewed and updated to comply with relevant legislation and obligations on public bodies including those related to modern slavery. The commercial steps the Trust has taken to comply with the legislation are outlined below.
Under the Public Contracts Regulations (2015), procurement regulations have been amended to make certain modern slavery offences such as child labour and human trafficking, grounds for mandatory exclusion of bidders from public procurement.
In 2021 the Trust’s intention, when undertaking new procurement activities which come under the Public Contracts Regulations (2015), was to include questions on Social Value. These questions would be supported by an explanatory narrative which makes direct reference to staff rights and the MSA. For operational reasons, primarily triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, these changes have not progressed as planned, but NCS remains committed to implementing them for future procurement activity.
The Trust is registered as a buyer with the Gov.uk Modern Slavery Assessment Tool (MSAT) and will support the Trust in driving campaigns to invite suppliers to complete the MSAT within the platform. The MSAT is a modern slavery risk identification and management tool. This tool has been designed to help public sector organisations work in partnership with suppliers to improve protections and reduce the risk of exploitation of workers in their supply chains. It also aims to help public sector organisations understand where there may be risks of modern slavery in the supply chains of goods and services they have procured. All Public sector organisations are encouraged to use the MSAT with existing suppliers. For operational reasons, primarily triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in this area have not progressed as planned, but NCS remains committed to implementing them for future procurement activity.
Suppliers who have a turnover of £36M or more and carry out all or part of their business in the UK, must publish a Modern Slavery Statement on their web sites and update annually and be approved by their board and signed by a director and be easily accessible on the suppliers home page on their website.
Each year the Trust commissions independent pre-delivery readiness assessments of all Management Partners (including the Trust itself) to ensure that the supplier and its supply chains are being managed effectively and that planned NCS programmes will be delivered professionally and safely to all service users.
Part of this process involves undertaking an assessment of Management Partners’ (and a sample of their Delivery Partners) approach to preventing and addressing instances of modern slavery. This process includes the review of modern slavery policies and processes, and their application in the delivery of NCS services. Any non-compliance to expected standards is immediately flagged to the relevant partner and the Trust by the independent assessor. The Trust will then take appropriate action to ensure that the issue is fully resolved, will not reoccur in the future, and may in some circumstances take further action with respect to the contract held with the supplier.
Directly contracted Management Partners and Delivery Partners are required to (i) have a safeguarding lead who is up to date with all safeguarding legislation, including the Modern Slavery Act 2015; and (ii) comply with minimum policy requirements, which includes requiring them to have a Modern Slavery Policy.
Risk assessment and management
The Trust takes its obligation to tackle modern slavery extremely seriously and has robust risk management and reporting procedures in place. It is committed to the consistent implementation of reporting tools and mechanisms in order to ensure that risks of this nature are monitored, mitigated and escalated effectively.
Whilst risks associated with modern slavery can be identified by anyone within the Trust or our supply chain, it is critical that we ensure that the management of these risks is delegated to the right people, with sufficient level of responsibility and oversight. We do this by utilising our risk framework and policy in order to ensure that risks are escalated to the appropriate level within the organisation and communicated externally where necessary.
Effective action taken to address modern slavery
At the point of employee recruitment and in accordance with relevant laws, appropriate checks are carried out on prospective Trust employees. The Trust’s People Team works closely with the relevant teams in the directly run regions to make sure that salary, contractual terms and benefits are appropriately managed.
In accordance with the Trust’s commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all business relationships, the Trust seeks to implement effective systems and controls to ensure Modern Slavery is not taking place in our supply chain. This involves ensuring the effective communication and reinforcement of our modern slavery statement and associated policies and documentation, which give a clear view of the values and principles that underpin all the Trust’s work and must be adhered to by our suppliers.
These policies comprise of the NCS Safeguarding Policy and Procedures, NCS Programme Delivery Personnel Code of Conduct, Safer Recruitment Guidance (produced in conjunction with the NSPCC) and the NCS Diversity and Inclusion Policy for Programme.
The NCS whistleblowing line (details of which are available on the NCS website) is accessible to all, and ensures that there is a direct reporting system for any concerns relating to modern slavery. Extra training will be available to all Management and Delivery Partner personnel who have direct responsibility for recruitment in order to mitigate risk (including any additional risks to employment terms generated by COVID-19 implications).
The Trust acknowledges that there has been increasing recognition of forms of exploitation that fall under the umbrella term of modern slavery, such as child exploitation by county lines drugs gangs. Furthermore that a child under-18 years of age is not able to consent to any form of modern slavery.
In the context of the rapidly changing landscape brought on by COVID-19, the Trust is aware that in all business, new or increased risks exist in relation to modern slavery, and that the furloughing of some staff within our partner network has the potential to compromise recruitment practices. Moreover, the Trust understands that the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - which serves as a resource for preventing underage recruitment - has experienced delays and resulted in alternative methodologies for processing applicants.
To mitigate these risks, in collaboration with Barnardos the Trust has delivered safer recruitment training and issued a webinar to our Network Partners to ensure they are aware of their obligations to ensure that robust measures continue to be in place and applied appropriately. The Trust has taken measures during the DBS process to ensure that all Network Partners can evidence that DBS checks have been undertaken for all staff. This is in the form of all partners supplying the unique DBS reference number and expiry date for all employees.
Training on modern slavery and trafficking
The Trust will seek to ensure that training is available to all personnel within the organisation in relation to modern slavery. This will ensure that all those working at the Trust have a clear understanding of what modern slavery entails, how to identify instances of modern slavery, and how to appropriately escalate concerns. Due to the impact Covid 19 pandemic, the roll-out of updated training has been post-postponed, but remains a priority for the upcoming financial year.
Modern slavery concerns relating to service users (Programme attendees - young people primarily 16-17 year olds)
The Trust has a clear reporting procedure for any modern slavery concerns highlighted within the organisation or by network partners:
1. Concern is identified: this could be that a service user is a victim or perpetrator, or a service user informs us of a concern they have
2. NCS Programme personnel discusses this with their line manager (where appropriate) and the Trust’s Chief Governance and Transformation Officer immediately
NOTE: If an individual is, or group of people are, in immediate risk of danger or harm, the police must be immediately notified on 999.
According to the nature of the concern, the Trust’s Chief Governance and Transformation Officer will lead on the next actions that are to be taken. This will be on a case-to-case basis. Next steps could include:
- Notifying the police
- Contacting the Modern Slavery helpline (0800 0121 700)
- With the individual’s consent, completing a referral to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) (national framework for identifying potential victim of human trafficking and modern slavery and providing appropriate care) (England and Wales/Scotland/Northern Ireland)
- Referral to an external agency
Modern slavery concerns connected to a Network Partners or third-party contractors
If there are any identified concerns about any network partner, a network partner’s supplier tier, or an NCS supplier (who is not part of the delivery network) regarding the possible occurrence of modern slavery, the following actions must be taken:
1) Concern is identified within the supply chain: suppliers are required to inform their Trust point of contact, who will escalate it through the appropriate channels. The Trust’s Chief Governance and Transformation Officer will be kept informed of high level incidents for appropriate reporting and governance.
2) If the concern is raised directly with the Trust by an individual or employee of a supplier/third-party contracting with the Trust, then the recipient of the report will escalate it to their Department lead, keeping the Trust’s Chief Governance and Transformation Officer informed accordingly.
3) The Trust’s Chief Governance and Transformation Officer will take appropriate action, which may include informing the Trust senior legal sponsor, CEO, board or government sponsor.
NOTE: If an individual is, or group of people are, in immediate risk of danger or harm, the police must be immediately notified on 999*.
For concerns emanating from within the Network Partners and their supply tiers, the Management Partner will lead on next actions that are to be taken. This will be on a case-by-case basis. Next steps should include:
- Notifying the police
- Contacting the Modern Slavery helpline (0800 0121 700)
- With the individual’s consent, completing a referral to the National Referral
- Mechanism (NRM) (national framework for identifying potential victim of human trafficking and modern slavery and providing appropriate care) (England and Wales/Scotland/Northern Ireland)
- Referral to an external agency
- Undertaking an investigation into the safeguarding of service users while participating in activities with the relevant supply chain partner
- Suspending the contract with the relevant supply chain partner whilst an investigation is conducted
Any serious concerns connected to modern slavery will also be shared with the Chief Executive Officer and the Trust’s Legal Sponsor. A high-level report and any actions taken may be shared with the Trust’s board and sponsor department. The Trust will make every effort to protect the privacy of individuals concerned in line with our Data Protection and Privacy Policies.
NOTE: Where a supplier has been identified as engaging in practices amounting to modern slavery, a discussion will be had as to the Trust’s future relationship with the relevant supplier to ensure appropriate action has been taken.
Contact details for reporting modern slavery concerns at the Trust:
Name: Michael Devlin
Title: Chief Governance and Transformation Officer
Telephone: 07458 030635