Barnardo’s and the Modern Slavery Act

Barnardo’s is committed to the principles of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the abolition of modern slavery and human trafficking. This statement is made on behalf of Barnardo’s and its relevant subsidiaries in line with Section 54 of the Act.

Barnardo’s Business Model and supply chain

Barnardo’s is a charity registered in England and Wales and Scotland. It is governed by its Articles of Association and its objects are to promote the care, safety and upbringing of children and young people and the relief of those in need by reason of age, ill health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage.

Barnardo’s owns the whole of the issued capital of Barnardo Holdings Limited, which in turn owns the whole of the issued capital of the following subsidiaries, operating with the following principal activities:

  • Barnardo Developments Limited – property development
  • Barnardo Events Limited – sponsorship and special events
  • Barnardo Services Limited – childcare services
  • Barnardo Trading Limited – retail, online and direct marketing
  • Barnardo’s Garden Village Management Company Limited – property management

Barnardo’s also holds Adoption Plus directly.

Barnardo’s uses a large number of suppliers across all of its functions, to enable it to carry out its charitable purposes. These range from fundraising and retail suppliers to those used in property redevelopment and the provision of office facilities and recruitment services.

Independent Child Trafficking Guardianship Service

Barnardo’s runs the Home Office commissioned Independent Child Trafficking Guardianship Service (ICTGS) services in Wales/Cymru, East Midlands, West Midlands Combined Authorities, Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire (including Bristol), Warwickshire,  all London Boroughs, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Kent, Surrey, Essex, Greater Manchester, North and West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Merseyside.  The ICTG Service is underpinned by the Modern Slavery Act 2015, Section 48 by:

  • Building trusting relationships with trafficked children to help them build a positive future
  • Helping children navigate the criminal justice, immigration, and social care systems
  • Giving practical support, such as help with housing, medical needs, and education
  • Giving emotional and psychological support
  • Training professionals working with children so they can spot the signs of trafficking and know how to support trafficked children.

Barnardo’s is a First Responder for the National Referral Mechanism and has a duty to ensure that all young people we work with who have been suspected of trafficking under Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 are referred to the Single Competent Authority in the Home Office.  A referral into the National Referral Mechanism enables children to be identified as a potential and confirmed victim of trafficking.  Barnardo’s Services work with the SCA and the local authorities involved with the child’s care to provide appropriate safeguarding. 

Governance and policies

Barnardo’s has a zero tolerance approach to modern slavery and human trafficking and is fully committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure that it is not taking place anywhere within Barnardo’s or in our supply chains.

The Board of Trustees has overall responsibility for ensuring this statement complies with our legal and ethical obligations, and that it is reviewed on an annual basis. Management are responsible for raising awareness and implementing the relevant policies.

Barnardo’s has considered its strategy of implementing the measures set out in its previous statement and concluded that whilst a lot of work has been undertaken in this area the pandemic and subsequent economic challenges has had an adverse effect on our ability to complete this work.  An updated action plan has been developed and will be monitored by our Corporate Leadership team through the next year.

Procurement

We have comprehensive Procurement Policies and Procedures in place which seek to ensure modern slavery is addressed throughout the procurement process.

Barnardo’s Ethical Procurement Policy and Suppliers Code of Conduct requires all direct suppliers, service providers and contractors to answer questions on modern slavery and be committed to preventing modern slavery within their own activities and through their supply chain. We conduct due diligence of potential suppliers in relation to modern slavery risk before they enter the supply chain. This will continue once a supplier has been appointed via contract management activities.

In order to assess the risk of modern slavery in our existing supply chains and to understand the operating context of the charity, Barnardo’s has continued to conduct detailed audit and risk assessment of our existing suppliers, which is a long-term project given the size of the organisation. We will take action to eliminate and/or reduce the risk of modern slavery where appropriate. For any overseas suppliers to our Retail business, we have a due diligence process in place to ensure compliance.

Assurance of the robustness of our procurement processes was obtained in December 2019 when Barnardo’s became only the second charity in the UK to receive the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) Corporate Ethics Mark and a listing on the CIPS Corporate Ethics Register. The CIPS Corporate Ethics Mark is given to organisations that have taken proactive steps in the last year to safeguard against unethical conduct.

To achieve the award, the Procurement team took online training on a range of topics, including modern slavery, sustainability and international labour requirements. This learning is being shared across the entire organisation through the Barnardo’s University, our learning and development function, initially targeting those members of staff who are budget holders with responsibility for procurement.

Corporate Ethical Procurement and Supply qualification being made available for all colleagues to demonstrate their own commitment to ethics.

Recruitment

Barnardo’s as an equal opportunities employer has a rigorous recruitment process. Our recruitment practices include ‘right to work’ checks for all prospective employees. This ensures we maintain an assured overview of those entering our employment and prevents the occurrence of forced or involuntary labour.

Programme of continuous improvement

In addition to the steps set out above Barnardo’s will progress its commitment to the principles of the Modern Slavery Act by:

  • Rolling out a refresher awareness training to all staff and volunteers through the Barnardo’s University (BU).
  • Ensuring modern slavery is addressed in all key policies and procedures across the charity.
  • Continuing to ensure that suppliers are risk assessed and that risks identified are appropriately addressed.

Read more about our work with trafficked children.