Modern Slavery and human trafficking statement
Modern slavery is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. It takes various forms, such as slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, all of which have in common the deprivation of a person’s liberty by another in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust (MSE FT) supports the Government’s objectives to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking and recognises the significant role the NHS has to play in both combatting it and supporting victims.
As an organisation, we are committed to ensuring that no modern slavery or human trafficking takes place in any part of our business or our supply chain.
MSE FT was formed on 1st April 2020 following the acquisition of:
- Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust
- Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and
- Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The combined organisation provides acute, specialist and other health care services across three main hospital sites, community hospitals and other services.
The Trust has around 1800 in-patient beds over three main sites and other community sites and over 15,000 members of staff.
The Trust has a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and is committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all its business dealings. The Trust works in partnership to implement and enforce effective systems and controls to ensure modern slavery is not taking place anywhere in our business or in any of its supply chains, consistent with the Trust’s disclosure obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The Trust expects the same high standards from all contractors, suppliers and other business partners.
The procurement service has adopted the government’s Social Value Model which requires a minimum of 10% weighting in all procurements dedicated to Net Zero and Social Value, including the elimination of Modern Slavery. This ensures we only contract with companies who comply with modern slavery legislation.
Many of our procurement activities include a Selection Questionnaire (SQ) which includes a mandatory exclusion question regarding the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Any suppliers who declare that they do not comply with the legislation will be excluded or disqualified from the procurement process. Additionally, when procuring goods and services, we apply NHS Terms and Conditions which require suppliers to comply with appropriate legislation.
We are also aware that the owners of the frameworks we utilise (NHS Supply Chain, Crown Commercial Services, NHS Shared Business Services etc) are working with their supply chains to ensure the eradication of modern slavery so where we do opt to utilise a framework in favour of running a find a tender service (FTS), the framework terms and conditions still provide appropriate measures to manage identified modern slavery which ultimately is likely to be the immediate termination of said contracts. They also utilise their own vendor selection criteria ahead of framework/contracts awards which minimises the likelihood of us contracting with non-compliant suppliers.
Relevant links below:
Contract management of our strategic and higher risk contracts provides us with an opportunity to identify modern slavery and manage this effectively. The Trust reserves the right to terminate contracts immediately if the other party is in breach of its obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Many of our staff are CIPS (certificate in procurement and supply operations) qualified which includes modules on ethical procurement practices to ensure our staff are best placed to notice and manage instances of modern slavery. We also find specific courses, webinars and materials to ensure the team are best placed to manage this as not everyone is studying CIPS and all the team have undertaken government modern slavery training.
Organisational policies in relation to slavery and human trafficking
The Trust has a robust governance process to ensure there are relevant policies and procedures in place to fulfil its statutory duties. There are a number of internal policies to ensure that the Trust conducts business in an ethical and transparent manner. These include:
Procurement Policy: The Trust’s philosophy of procurement process is endorsed by the Lord Carter report; "NHS Procurement and Commercial Standards" which provides indicative key performance indicators and a focus for Procurement Teams to achieve excellence in standards in procurement: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-procurement-standards
All procurement activity throughout the Trust is conducted under the professional and ethical guidance provided by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. Public Procurement Regulations are adhered to, in conjunction with local Trust Standing Orders and Standing Financial Instructions.
Safeguarding Policy: All staff must adhere to the principles inherent within both the safeguarding children and adults’ policies and procedures. These provide clear guidance so that all employees are aware of how to raise safeguarding concerns about how colleagues or people receiving services are being treated, or about practices within our business or supply chain. Both policies highlight modern slavery and trafficking as safeguarding issues.
Raising Concerns at Work Policy (Whistleblowing): The Trust promotes a climate of openness and dialogue in which staff are encouraged to raise any concerns about potential risks, malpractices or wrongdoing, breaches of the law, regulations or similar concerns (“whistleblowing”) without fear of retaliation, which reflects the protections afforded by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. This Act offers legal protection against disadvantage (including victimisation, disciplinary/criminal action or dismissal) for members of staff who raise concerns.
Recruitment and Selection Policy: The purpose of this policy is to enable managers to recruit and retain skilled people to enable the wider Trust to achieve its aims and values. It supports the organisation to ensure:
- effective, consistent and fair practice by the provision of clear guidelines.
- there is equality of opportunity for existing and prospective staff and to ensure there is no less favourable treatment of applicants.
- recruiting managers are competent to fulfil their obligations within the policy and wherever possible have undergone relevant training.
- that all staff have been appropriately vetted for the requirements of their role.
Due Diligence processes in relation to slavery and human trafficking and performance indicators
Our safeguarding policies and training highlight to staff that Modern slavery encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. Possible indicators include poor physical appearance, isolation, poor living conditions, few or no personal effects, restricted freedom of movement, unusual travel habits and a reluctance to seek help.
We always promote awareness to staff that the term ‘modern slavery’ captures a whole range of types of exploitation, many of which occur together. Most children / persons are trafficked for financial gain. This can include payment from or to the child’s parents. In many situations, parents part with their children believing that they will be offered a better life or opportunities in the place they are being taken to. In most cases, the trafficker also receives payment from those wanting to exploit the child once in the UK.
We work with the local authority and police when necessary to safeguard any adults or children we are concerned may be experiencing modern slavery and/ or trafficking.
In accordance with our duty of candour, our senior leaders and entire Board are committed to an open and honest culture. To that end, The Trust commits to investigating any concerns raised fairly and promptly in line with the Raising Concerns at Work Policy. The operation of this policy is supported by The Guardian Service, an independent service which provides staff with an independent, confidential 24/7 service to raise concerns, worries or risks in their workplace. The Guardian Service covers patient care and safety, whistleblowing, bullying and harassment and work concerns and is supported by Freedom to Speak Up champions. The Board receives a report every 6 months which details the themes arising from the cases received by each of the FTSUGs. An annual report is then produced at the end of each financial year and includes:
- Assessment of issues
- Potential patient safety or workers experience issues
- Action taken to improve the FTSU culture
- Learning and improvement
Risk Assessment and management
The Trust Board ensures that a Risk Management Strategy is in place and provides the oversight in terms of maintenance, delivery and evaluation of the effectiveness of the strategy. The Risk Management Strategy sets out the vision for managing risk, identifies the accountability arrangements and resources for managing risk and provides guidance on acceptable levels of risk within the organisation. Risk management is a fundamental part of the total approach to quality, corporate and clinical governance and is essential to the Trust’s ability to discharge its functions as a partner in the local health and care system, as a public benefit corporation and a provider of health services, as a custodian of public funds and a significant employer.
All employees have an important part to play in identifying, assessing and managing risk. To support employees in this role, the Trust provides a range of policies, strategies, procedures, protocols and guidelines, together with information at all levels that are relevant to an individual’s role. The Trust aims to ensure that employees have the knowledge, skills, support and access to the expert advice necessary to manage risk effectively and efficiently. Support and training were provided in line with the risk management training needs analysis, which identified the level of training appropriate for an individual’s authority and duties.
Modern Slavery is a safeguarding issue and our staff are guided to follow the safeguarding adults and children safeguarding process to risk assess and raise any concerns regarding modern slavery to ensure staff and patient safety at all times.
Effective action taken to address modern slavery
MSE FT aims to be as effective as possible in ensuring that modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any part of our business or supply chains by:
- Providing safeguarding training to staff to raise awareness and develop their skills and knowledge of modern slavery.
- Highlighting modern slavery in safeguarding policies
- Ensuring up to date policies for procurement, raising concerns at work, recruitment and selection
- Working effectively with local authorities, the police and third sector organisations which includes appropriate arrangements for preventing and responding to modern slavery and human trafficking.
- Signing up to the multi-agency policy and procedures for the protection of adults with care and support needs and children at risk of abuse/ harm/ neglect
- Ensuring robust NHS employment checks and payroll systems
Training on modern slavery and trafficking
Advice and training about modern slavery and human trafficking are available to staff through mandatory safeguarding children and adults training programmes, safeguarding policies and procedures, and safeguarding leads.
In line with the mandatory requirements of the core skills training framework (CSFT), the Trust provides training to all staff through safeguarding training at level 1. Levels 2 and 3 are delivered using the same framework and intercollegiate guidance which covers more detailed information on modern slavery.
This statement is made pursuant to Section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes the Trust’s modern slavery and human trafficking statement for the current financial year.
Signed on behalf of the Board Directors: Jonathan Dunk, Chief Commercial Officer.