The Girls’ Day School Trust – Anti-Slavery Statement
The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) continues to be 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 has been updated to reflect the progress made by the GDST during the financial year 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021. It sets out the steps the GDST is taking to understand potential modern slavery risks within its business, and to endeavour to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking taking place in its business or its 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 pupils and employs 3,700 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, agencies for the recruitment of international students, construction and educational supplies.
The GDST has considered which of its supply chains could be at a high risk of slavery or human trafficking. Regard was given to supply chains which 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 adopts a risk-based approach to due diligence on new suppliers, with a focus on those identified as carrying the greatest exposure of risk whether due to geographic area, industry sector or value of spend. The steps taken are tailored to the individual supplier and can include:
The GDST has appropriate policies in place to ensure that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in its supply chain or business. These policies are regularly reviewed and updated.
The key policy is the GDST’s internal Anti-Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking policy, which was updated in the course of the 2021/22 financial year, and which demonstrates the organisation’s 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 endeavour 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, including its Whistle-blowing policy, Procurement policy, Dignity at Work policy, Pay policy, Anti-money laundering policy and Safeguarding policy. In turn, these policies are carefully monitored, and the whistleblowing policy and fraud policy are reviewed by our external auditors.
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.
In its May 2020 Anti-Slavery Statement, the GDST identified a number of steps that it would consider implementing in future. The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted upon the implementation of these actions and meant that the publication has occurred within the extended timeframe provided by the Government. Good progress has, however, been made and a number of steps have been implemented. These include:
The GDST has taken steps to ensure that it can continue to identify and address the risks of modern slavery in its operations and supply chains during the coronavirus pandemic. These steps have included:
The GDST is committed to continually 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 would like to progress towards implementing in future are:
The Girls’ Day School Trust make this statement pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, for its financial year ending 2021. This statement has been approved by The Girls’ Day School Trust’s board of directors who will review and update it annually.
Juliet Humphries, Director (review date September 2022)
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