Modern Slavery Statement 2017

1. Introduction

This statement sets out the University of Sheffield actions to understand all potential modern slavery risks related to its business and to put in place steps that are aimed at ensuring that there is no slavery or human trafficking in its own business and its supply chains. This statement relates to actions and activities during the financial year 1st August 2016 to 31st July 2017.

As part of the Higher Education sector, the organisation recognises that it has a responsibility to take a robust approach to slavery and human trafficking.

The organisation is absolutely 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.

2. The University’s structure and activities

We are a provider of Higher Education and research and are an exempt charity under the terms of the Charities Act 2006 and incorporated by Royal Charter.

We are dedicated to academic achievement across a broad range of disciplines. Academic departments are grouped into six faculties: Arts and Humanities; Engineering; Medicine, Dentistry and Health; Science; Social Sciences; and International Faculty, City College, Thessaloniki, Greece. We have nearly 20,000 under graduate students and over 8,000 post graduate students which includes students from 150 different countries.

We are committed to remaining a globally-leading University and a top employer that offers excellent teaching and world-leading research. We are proud of our position as an urban institution driving the economic growth of the city and the region, encouraging cultural and economic vibrancy, and contributing to scientific and cultural capital through our research and its outcomes. Our positive engagement with our local community is complemented by our values-led, innovative approach to strengthening our place globally.

We therefore embrace our responsibilities, both local and global, and through our research, teaching, and partnerships we will lead in shaping and driving the Northern economic powerhouse, making the national case for investment in our regional infrastructure. We will use our international profile to benefit Sheffield and the City Region, bringing world-leading companies and international partnerships to the region.

3. Our policies

The University of Sheffield operates the following policies that describe its approach to the identification of modern slavery risks and steps to be taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking in its operations:

Whistleblowing policy: The organisation encourages all its workers, customers and other business partners to report any concerns related to the direct activities, or the supply chains of, the organisation. This includes any circumstances that may give rise to an enhanced risk of slavery or human trafficking.

Supplier code of conduct: The organisation is committed to ensuring that its suppliers adhere to the highest standards of ethics. 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.

Agency workers policy: The organisation 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.

4. Modern slavery risks in our supply chains

We buy a range of goods and services, including construction services and supplies, furniture and stationery, electronics (computers, audio visual etc), food and catering supplies, travel services, laboratory supplies (equipment, chemicals etc), books, printing and waste and recycling services and do so in accordance with public procurement law. A large proportion is bought through frameworks established by collaborative consortia.

While the risks of modern slavery in our direct activities is likely to be low, we recognise that there are risks through the good and services that we procure linked to supply chains around the world. We therefore provide to our suppliers the opportunity to engage with the University in a sustainable manner by managing their own risks via an online portal called the NETpositive Supplier Engagement Tool. The tool enables all of the University of Sheffield’s suppliers to develop a Netpositive Sustainability action plan in line with our environmental, sustainability and institutional objectives. The customised action plans can be measured and monitored and incorporate modern slavery risks.

We will continue to build upon our existing systems to:

  • Identify, assess and monitor potential risk in our supply chains
  • Protect whistle blowers who report unethical conduct
  • Include modern slavery and human trafficking clauses in our standard terms and conditions.

We work with others, such as universities, procurement bodies such as NEUPC and government agencies to inform and mitigate risks.

5. Further steps

Over the next financial year 2017/18 we will look to develop further understanding of:

  • Effective use of the recruitment and selection procedures
  • Effective communications with our suppliers to confirm their understanding and compliance in line with our expectations.

6. Approval

This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes the University of Sheffield’s modern slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 31st July 2017.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett
Principal and Vice Chancellor

For and on behalf of the University of Sheffield