The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) is committed to preventing slavery and human trafficking in its corporate activities, and to ensuring that its supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking. This statement sets out the steps taken by the GDST, during the financial year (and first mandatory reporting period) 1 September 2015 to 31 August 2016, to understand potential modern slavery risks within its business, and to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking taking place in its business and its supply chains.
Organisational structure and supply chains
The GDST is the UK’s leading network of independent girls’ schools, with 23 schools and 2 academies throughout England and Wales. It was founded in 1872 and educates 19,000 students and employs 3,500 staff.
As the GDST is a charity, procurement of quality goods and services has always been an important part of ensuring charitable funds are carefully spent. Supply chains utilised by the GDST currently include uniform, catering, caretaking and grounds maintenance, cleaning, furniture and equipment, ICT hardware and construction.
The GDST considered which of its supply chains could be at a high risk of slavery or human trafficking. Regard was given to supply chains which are high risk, originate outside the UK, and guidance from ISBA (The Independent Schools’ Bursars Association) which identifies high risk supply chains for schools as catering, stationery and uniform.
As part of the GDST’s initiative to identify and mitigate the risk of slavery and human trafficking in supply chains, the GDST continued to carry out stringent due diligence on new suppliers. This included:
- Obtaining general information on supplier companies and understanding their corporate structure
- Assessing supplier financial stability by reviewing recent and previous company accounts
- Ensuring suppliers are able to provide adequate assurances of their own commitment to preventing modern slavery and human trafficking
- Ensuring suppliers are able to provide relevant health and safety checks
- Ensuring suppliers on GDST framework contracts are ISO 9001 compliant, and provide details of their quality assurance systems and policies across a number of areas – this is to ensure high standards particularly in relation to working conditions and people
- Obtaining details of supplier policies for the purchase for consumables
- Ensuring suppliers are aware that the GDST is a Living Wage Foundation accredited organisation and ascertaining whether suppliers also have this accreditation
The GDST has published an Anti-Slavery policy, which demonstrates its commitment to act ethically and with integrity in business relationships. The policy also demonstrates the GDST’s commitment to having effective systems in place to ensure slavery and human trafficking are not taking place within its business and its supply chains.
The GDST’s Anti-Slavery policy makes reference to other relevant and longstanding GDST policies, such as its Whistle-blowing policy, Procurement policy, Dignity at Work policy, Pay policy and Disciplinary Policy.
The GDST is confident that, together, these policies effectively mitigate the risk of slavery and human trafficking taking place within its business or supply chains, and provide support to staff should they have any concerns.
The GDST’s Anti-Slavery policy will be reviewed annually and supplemented with details of additional steps that can be taken by staff to ensure there is no slavery or human trafficking in the GDST’s business or supply chains.
Further steps and Key Performance Indicators
The GDST is committed to improving its practices to ensure that its business and supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking. Some of the additional steps that the GDST will consider implementing in future are:
- Enhanced due diligence, specific to slavery and human trafficking
- Enhanced due diligence on existing suppliers, rather than on new suppliers only
- Regular risk assessments on supply chains
- Staff training to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking
- Proactive engagement with high risk suppliers to obtain more detail on the entire supply chain
- Increased use of ethical suppliers
- Clauses in contracts ensuring supplier compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015
- Agreed key performance indicators to monitor the effectiveness of the steps taken by the GDST to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in the GDST’s business or supply chains
The Girls’ Day School Trust make this statement pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, for its financial year ending 2016. This statement has been approved by The Girls’ Day School Trust’s board of directors who will review and update it annually.
Director name: Juliet Humphries
Date: 17th May 2017