Chelmsford City Council signs up to national campaign against modern slavery

December 3, 2020 12:32 PM

Stephen Robinson outside Chelmsford City CouncilThe Leader of Chelmsford City Council has signed The Charter Against Modern Day Slavery (CAMDS), after a motion was passed unanimously at a full council meeting. It is estimated that around 13,000 people a year living in the UK are victims of modern-day slavery.

2 December is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

The Charter Against Modern Day Slavery commits all local authorities to continue ensuring its contractors and suppliers comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, including a commitment to buying all goods and services ethically. It also tackles any slavery, servitude, forced, or compulsory labour, human trafficking or exploitation in local communities.

The charter was signed by the Leader of Chelmsford City Council Leader, Councillor Stephen Robinson, who said, "I am proud to have signed this charter, which reinforces our united commitment to ending the horrific scourge of modern-day slavery. The City Council will uphold these principles internally and expects these standards for ethics and transparency to be followed by companies who sell supplies to the Council. The Council is sending out a powerful message that the perpetrators of these appalling crimes have nowhere to hide."

The 10 pledges that each council is committing to by signing the charter are as follows. Chelmsford City Council will:

1. Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply's (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.

2. Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for non-compliance.

3. Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.

4. Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

5. Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

6. Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

7. Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.

8. Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.

9. Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency's national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.

10. Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually.

The Charter Against Modern Day Slavery has now been signed by more than 80 councils across the country. Find out more at https://party.coop/local/councillors/modern-slavery-charter/