Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa is supporting the fight against modern slavery and has signed a new pledge to prevent exploitation when procuring goods and services.
The Commissioner has become one of the first PCCs in the country to sign up to the Co-operative Party’s Charter Against Modern Slavery pledging to investigate and eradicate modern slavery in supply chains and promote ethical business practices among the Force’s contractors and suppliers.
The move was announced at a meeting of the PCC’s Strategic Priorities Assurance Board (SPA) this week.
The Charter has already been signed by local authorities and other public sector organisations across the UK and now the Commissioner has thrown down the gauntlet to PCC colleagues nationally to join him in officially adopting the scheme.
Derbyshire Constabulary already has an impressive track record of investigating and building prosecution cases for modern slavery and human trafficking offences.
“This is a significant milestone for policing and shows just how determined we are in Derbyshire to take action against modern slavery crimes and safeguard the human rights of people who live and work in the county and beyond,” said Mr Dhindsa.
“The Force has a robust approach to these dreadful crimes and has already had success in investigating complex cases and bringing those responsible to justice. My own office has contributed significant resources to expand support services to help victims seek help, protection and recovery.
“As a public body, we must ensure the choices and decisions we make, and the people and businesses we work with, support these efforts and abide by fair and ethical standards. I am delighted to sign this Charter and support the Co-operative Party’s mission and call on my colleagues across England and Wales to pledge their own support to make our voices louder.”
Joe Fortune, Co-operative Party General Secretary, said: “The Co-operative Party is delighted that Hardyal Dhindsa has signed the Co-op Party’s Charter Against Modern Slavery. Modern Slavery is a scourge on society, and it is incumbent on us all to do what we can to clamp down on those who would profit out of human misery.”
The Charter provides guidance to PCCs on how to identify and manage modern slavery risks in their existing contracts and new procurement activity.
As a signatory, the PCC is now committed to annual reporting on the implementation of the policy at the end of every financial year.
The Co-operative has led a high-profile campaign to address gaps in the Modern Slavery Act which has previously not required public bodies to ensure their supply chains are free from exploitation – despite local authorities procuring collectively more than £49bn on goods and services every year.
The Charter instead encouraged public bodies to voluntarily agree to meet the requirements of the Act, going above and beyond to drive out exploitation from within their supply chains.
The Government has now agreed to extend the Act to include public bodies which will ensure the requirements of the Charter become law.
Notes to editors:
In signing the Charter, the PCC has agreed to ensure the Constabulary:
Trains its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course.
Ensure contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 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 supplies 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 who suspect modern slavery.
Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistleblowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.
Reviews its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.
Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually to my Strategic Priorities Board.
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Posted on Tuesday 1st December 2020