Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

Review date: August 2020

Introduction

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the Act) requires organisations supplying goods or services with a turnover of above £36m to prepare and publish an annual Modern Slavery Statement.

This statement sets out Estuary Housing Association’s (EHA) actions to understand all potential modern slavery risks related to our business and to put in place steps that are aimed at ensuring that there is no slavery or human trafficking in our own business and supply chains.

As a Registered Provider, EHA recognises its duty to combat modern slavery and human trafficking. This statement is an expression of our commitment to improving our practices to combat modern slavery and human trafficking in our corporate activities and supply chains.

EHA’s organisational structure and supply chains 

This statement covers the activities of EHA and its subsidiary companies. The Group’s principal activities are the development, management and maintenance of good quality social, affordable and market rent housing, and the provision of care.

Estuary Housing Association Limited was founded in the 1970s and registered with the Housing Corporation in 1984. It is a Registered Society under the Co-Operative and Community Benefit Society Act 2014, with charitable rules and status. It is regulated by the Regulator of Social Housing, Care Quality Commission and Ofsted. It provides over 4500 homes in 17 local authority areas across Essex and three bordering London boroughs of Redbridge; Havering; and Barking & Dagenham. The largest concentration of this provision, 1,581 units are in the town of Southend-on-Sea.  The Association provides additional services in Southend, including a Nursery and Housing Office. Our remaining stock is dispersed throughout Essex, in both urban and rural areas.

The Association’s supply chains are drawn mainly from the construction, property maintenance and adult social care market. EHA operates in England and had an annual turnover of £40.3 million in 2018/19. EHA has assessed the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking as follows;
 

High risk activities 

EHA does not believe there to be any high risk operations within the work of the company and its supply chain with regards to modern slavery and human trafficking. 
 

Medium risk activities 

Supply chains linked to house building and property maintenance, as a result of the organisation’s reliance upon external contractors to undertake a high percentage of building and maintenance work. 
 

Low risk activities 

Supply chains in the provision of agency staff predominantly in adult social care. 
 

Responsibility 

Responsibility for EHA's anti-slavery approach is as follows: 
 

Policies:

We continue to review all relevant policies annually in light of the Act. We are confident that our policies promote good behaviour among our colleagues at work and within our supply chain. Our policies and procedures are kept under review to make sure that they reflect the Association’s evolution and our regulatory and statutory obligations. 

EHA has the following policies and strategies that describe its approach to the identification of modern slavery risks and the steps to be taken to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in its operations:

 

Confidential Reporting (Whistleblowing) Policy

EHA encourages all its workers, customers and other business partners to report any concerns related to the direct activities, or the supply chains of the Association. This includes any circumstances that may give rise to an enhanced risk of modern slavery or human trafficking. EHA's Confidential Reporting (Whistleblowing) procedure is designed to make it easy for workers to make disclosures, without fear of retaliation.

 

Recruitment Policy

EHA operates a comprehensive and transparent recruitment policy which is adhered to by our Human Resources team and subject to periodic internal audit. Our approach to recruitment and selection continues to contain relevant requirements in terms of checking of eligibility to work in the UK which is carried out for every successful application as well as reference checks for every new starter.

 

Employee and Board and Committee Members’ Code of Conduct

EHA’s code makes clear to employees and Board Members the actions and behaviours expected of them when representing the Association. EHA strives to maintain the highest standards of employee and Board Member conduct and ethical behaviour including a mandatory annual declaration of interest from every Board or staff member

 

Probity Policy

EHA requires all Board and staff members to ensure that good probity is maintained at all times and that our conduct is transparent, effective and beyond reproach. The policy requires EHA to maintain a register of declarations of interest as well as a register of gifts and hospitality.

 

Procurement Policy and Contract Procedure Rules

EHA is committed to ensuring that its suppliers adhere to the highest standards of ethics. We recognise that modern slavery is a complex supply chain issue and suppliers are required to demonstrate that they provide safe working conditions where necessary, treat workers with dignity and respect, and act ethically and within the law in their use of labour. EHA works with suppliers to ensure that they meet the standards of the policy.

 

EHA does not wish to support or deal with any business knowingly involved in slavery or human trafficking in any part of its operations.

 

We are in the process of carrying out a full review of all our procurement documentation and policies to ensure our standards are fully compliant with all relevant legislation including modern slavery and reflecting our zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and human trafficking.

All our standard contracts will contain clauses and contractual requirements that our suppliers do not engage in any activity that is contrary to the Act. Over time, we will achieve the inclusion of the contractual requirement in all supplier relationships.

A register of all contracts is maintained by Procurement and it is ensured that all new suppliers to the business meet our eligibility criteria including modern slavery.
 

Recruitment of Agency workers

EHA works with Procurement for Housing (PfH) Frameworks and uses only specified, reputable employment agencies to source labour and always verifies the practices of any new agency it is using before accepting workers from that agency.  Agency workers supplement the use of our internal staff bank.

 

Safeguarding Policy

EHA’s Corporate Safeguarding Policy identifies Modern Slavery as a form of abuse and details clear referral methods for staff to follow if and where abuse is suspected.

 

Risk assessments

Key Corporate Risk monitoring and management is undertaken by the Investment, Audit and Risk Committee, with all risks, controls and assurances being signed off by the Committee on an annual basis. The Board of Management also receive the Key Corporate Risk matrix on an annual basis.  All Senior Leadership Team Members are responsible for assessing the risks associated with modern slavery and human trafficking.

 

Investigations/due diligence

Any suspected incident of slavery or human trafficking should be immediately reported to the Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Resources in the first instance. Individual members of the Senior Leadership Team, with assistance from the Human Resources Team, are responsible for investigating any suspected instances of modern slavery and human trafficking.

 

Training

EHA’s Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development is responsible for sourcing and making training available on modern slavery and human trafficking to staff.  All staff are required to undertake mandatory e-learning courses covering the topics of Anti-Bribery & Corruption and Safeguarding on a 2-yearly basis, which outline how concerns around criminal and safeguarding matters should be raised and addressed.

 

Our on-going commitment to the Modern Slavery Act 2015:

We are committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in our supply chains or in any part of our business. Our commitment is to act ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships and to implement effective systems and controls to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place. We are further committed to making sure that our properties are not used to accommodate the work of human traffickers or detain others for servitude.

This statement was approved by EHA’s Executive Team on behalf of EHA Board of Management and applies to all organisations within the group. It will continue to be reviewed and updated as necessary or, as a minimum, on an annual basis.

This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes our slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 31st March 2019.

 

Chief Executive:  Ian Martin

September 2019

Modern Slavery Statement 2019.pdf [pdf] 169KB

Modern Slavery Helpline - call 08000 121 700 to get help, report a suspicion or seek advice. More information can be found on https://www.unseenuk.org/

The Safe Car Wash - The Safe Car Wash app is a new smartphone app created and launched by the Church of England’s anti-slavery campaign ‘The Clewer Initiative’ and the Catholic Church’s Santa Marta Group to help members of the public alert police to potential incidents of modern-day slavery at hand car washes. You can download the free app onto your smartphone. When you are using a hand car wash, simply open the app and complete a short survey about the working conditions of the car wash. https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/safecarwash