VSO is committed to ensuring that there are no instances of modern slavery or human trafficking occurring within its global organisation or its supply chains. We have a strict zero tolerance approach.
We are focused on ethical and responsible business practice in our global supply chains and will continue to review and improve in this area.
In keeping with our mission of fighting poverty, wherever possible we source goods and services locally in the countries we operate. Our supplier base is broad and diverse and is comprised of organisations best able to meet our requirements.
Having assessed risks of trafficking and abuse identified under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, we assess that potential risks are no less in respect of activities within the UK than in our other countries of operation and we are committed to high levels of vigilance wherever we operate. If an existing supplier were to be suspected of having links to involvement in modern slavery, interaction with that supplier would immediately cease.
Our supply chain activities are managed under the guidance and leadership of our central procurement function and in accordance with our global procurement policy. The policy was last updated in January 2017.
Our global procurement policy requires all staff and volunteers, regardless of their role and for all procurement whatever the value, to follow the procurement principles of fairness, transparency, ethical behaviour, compliance and value for money.
The policy also states "Procurement activity must not support organisations involved in criminal activity such as fraud, corruption, forced labour (modern slavery) and other human rights abuses."
The procurement policy demands that whoever is involved in procurement must also refer and adhere to our other relevant HR policies:
- Safeguarding and child protection
- Criminal practices policy (PDF, 776 KB)
- Global whistle-blowing policy (PDF, 433 KB)
- Data protection and privacy statement
Adherence to our global procurement policy is included within our routine internal audits.
For high-value or high-risk procurement, our pre-qualification questionnaire for tenders requires suppliers to declare whether they, or anyone in their organisation, has been involved in offenses under the Modern Slavery Act (among many other criminal or illegal acts). Suppliers are also required to state if they use sub-contractors and whether they have processes in place to check whether any of the above circumstances apply to their subcontractors.
Before contracts are awarded due diligence checks are done on suppliers. The level of due diligence undertaken is related to the value of the procurement and the nature of the goods being purchased.
Due diligence is carried out at country office level and includes, but is not limited to, numerous sanctions lists checks (which contains names of individuals or organisations who are known to be involved in financing crime or terrorism), reference checks, and site visits where appropriate. In some instances donors may also require additional specific due diligence activities to be carried out.
Training to heighten awareness of modern slavery and how to report it is incorporated into our criminal practices awareness training, which is mandatory for all staff as part of their induction.
This statement was agreed by the Board of Trustees as part of the Annual Report 17/18. The Annual Report was approved by the Board of Trustees and signed on their behalf by Mari Simonen on 18 July 2018.
The statement is reviewed annually.