At Sandwell Council, we are committed to combatting modern slavery in all its forms and upholding the principles of human rights, equality, and social justice. As part of our dedication to transparency and accountability, we have developed this Modern Slavery Transparency Statement to outline our approach and actions in addressing modern slavery within our operations and supply chains.
Sandwell Council's strong commitment to combating slavery and human trafficking is reflected in the following measures:
Designated Modern Slavery Program Manager: We have appointed a Modern Slavery Program Manager who oversees the council's efforts in combating modern slavery. This role ensures a coordinated and focused approach to addressing this issue.
Operational Leadership: Our Community Safety Officer leads the operational approach to modern slavery, working closely with relevant stakeholders and agencies to identify, investigate, and respond to cases of modern slavery effectively.
Pledge to Become Slavery-Free: We have pledged to become slavery-free, signifying our firm commitment to eliminating modern slavery in all its forms. This pledge encompasses our determination to eradicate slavery within our operations and supply chains.
Coordinated Response through SHOP: Sandwell Council actively participates in the Slavery and Human Trafficking Operational Partnership (SHOP), which serves as a collaborative platform for coordinating the response to modern slavery throughout the borough.
Awareness and Training: We prioritise raising awareness among staff members and the wider community about the signs of modern slavery and the appropriate actions to take.
Ethical Procurement: Our Corporate Procurement Team undergoes training on modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supplies (CIPS). This training ensures a thorough understanding of ethical procurement and supply practices to identify and mitigate modern slavery risks within the supply chains.
Partnership with Local Communities: We actively collaborate with local communities, voluntary organisations, and statutory partners to create a united front against modern slavery.
Whistleblowing System: We promote our whistleblowing system, encouraging staff to report any suspected instances of modern slavery. This system is publicised to ensure that potential cases are identified and addressed promptly.
Modern Slavery Maturity Matrix: We commit to using the Local Government Association (LGA) maturity matrix to assess progress in various themes, including leadership, resources, capacity, identifying, referring, and supporting victims, disruption, prevention, and mitigating supply chain risk. The report will identify areas of strength and improvement, providing a solid foundation for the council to develop an action plan to address any gaps in modern slavery practices.
Progress 2023 – 24
This section highlights the significant progress made by Sandwell Council in its ongoing efforts to combat modern slavery. Through a comprehensive range of initiatives, the council have focused on enhancing governance processes, strengthening accountability, improving training frameworks, and fostering effective communication strategies. These proactive measures aim to raise awareness, prevent modern slavery, and respond effectively to any instances identified. By leading collaborative partnerships and leveraging data insights, the council is taking substantial strides towards creating a slavery-free Sandwell.
Review and Refresh Key Corporate Governance Documents: The council have completed a review of key corporate governance documents, ensuring robust decision-making, audit, and scrutiny processes. This have fostered a culture of change, and an improvement plan is now in place.
Strengthen the Role of Scrutiny and Audit: The council have established a clear and strong role for scrutiny and audit, successfully embedding it into practice to enhance accountability and transparency.
Document Lessons Learned in Procurement, Commercial, and Contract Issues: The council have documented lessons learned in procurement, commercial, and contract issues. This effort aims to improve procurement processes and prevent modern slavery in supply chain.
Develop Modern Slavery Strategic Needs Assessment: The council have developed a modern slavery strategic needs assessment as part of its commitment to the Serious Violence Duty. This assessment helps identify areas of focus and inform targeted actions.
Implement Best Practice in Training and Training Framework: The council have implemented best practices in training and embedded a modern slavery training framework. This ensures that all staff are equipped to recognise and report relevant concerns. A total of 464 individuals have received training on modern slavery awareness.
Raise Awareness within Sandwell Council and Local Communities: The council have continued its efforts to raise awareness of modern slavery within Sandwell Council, businesses, supply chains, partners, and local communities. These awareness-raising activities aim to foster a "Slavery-Free Sandwell."
Establish an Internal Response for Modern Slavery Concerns: The council have developed an internal response system to address modern slavery concerns. This includes providing effective victim pathways and responding to 175 reports related to modern slavery during the year.
Lead the Modern Slavery Response through the Strategic Anti-Slavery Partnership: The council continues to lead the modern slavery response through the Strategic Anti-Slavery Partnership. This collaborative effort engages supply chains and various stakeholders to address modern slavery effectively.
Strengthen Operational Response through SHOP (Slavery and Human Trafficking Operational Partnership): The council have further strengthened the operational response to modern slavery across the Borough through the work of the Slavery and Human Trafficking Operational Partnership (SHOP).
Develop an Updated Data Set and Effective Responses: The council have developed an updated data set to better understand the prevalence and nature of modern slavery in Sandwell. This data informs the development of effective responses and targeted interventions.