Modern Slavery Statement 2020/21

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1. Introduction

The University of Sheffield is a public research University and is an exempt charity under the terms of the Charities Act 2006; Royal Charter incorporated it in 1905. With a turnover in excess of £715m, The University is deemed a commercial organisation as defined by The Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Transparency in Supply Chains).

Modern slavery is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. It takes various forms, such as slavery, servitude forced, 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.

As part of the Higher Education sector, we recognise that we have a duty to take a robust approach in removing slavery and human trafficking from our supply chains. The following statement is intended as an update to the actions we have taken so far in our efforts to acknowledge and adhere to section 54(1) part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Furthermore, it sets out our continued efforts to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in our supply chain.


2. The University’s structure, business and supply chains

The University of Sheffield is multi-campus University and is organised into six academic faculties composed of multiple departments.

With 29,000 students, who come from 150 different countries, and a turnover of £715m we are one of the biggest and most influential Universities in the U.K. We are a member of the Russell Group of Universities and our research has a global reputation

We are dedicated to sector leading academic achievement across a broad range of disciplines. Our academic departments are grouped into the following five faculties:

  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health
  • Faculty of Sciences
  • Faculty of Social Sciences

In addition to the Faculties above, we have The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre (AMRC), which is a network of world-leading research, and innovation centres working with manufacturing companies of any size around the globe.

Both the faculties and the AMRC are supported by Professional Services, which is divided into the following structure:

  • Corporate Services
  • Academic Services
  • Financial and Commercial Services

We also have Overseas Representative Offices:

  • Sheffield Advisory Services, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • AMRC South Korea

We are a member of the North East Universities Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC) and The University Catering Organisation (TUCO), who are members of UK Universities Purchasing Consortia (UKUPC) and Procurement England Ltd (PEL).

Procurement England Ltd (PEL) adheres to a joint Sustainable Procurement Policy, which includes undertaking risk assessments of products and services in supply chains and adopting mechanisms and indicators to monitor and review the performance of vendors and achieve continuous improvement.  Additionally NEUPC and TUCO have published their own Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Transparency in Supply Chains) Statements, linked accordingly.

We also engage in modern slavery and sustainability issues with fellow HE consortia and the wider university sector through our membership of the Higher Education Procurement Association (HEPA) and the NEUPC Responsible Procurement Group, which feeds into the HEPA National Responsible Procurement Group.


3. Our policies and due diligence practices in relation to Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

In addition to the Whistleblowing Policy and the Agency Workers Policy highlighted in our previous Modern Slavery Statement we operate the following practices and due diligence in relation to Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

  • Suppliers who bid for tendering opportunities are assessed against their compliance with the  Modern Slavery Act 2015.
  • Staff whose primary job function is Procurement have received training from the Higher Education Procurement Association on Modern Slavery and Protecting Human Rights in the Supply Chain.
  • Staff whose primary job function is Procurement are either qualified Members of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (MCIPS) or are actively working towards the qualification.  A code of ethics is in place, which requires all MCIPs professionals to foster awareness of human rights, fraud and corruption issues in the supply chain.
  • We actively engage with NetPositive Futures to address the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act in order to meet our disclosure responsibilities.
  • We work closely with our purchasing consortia the NEUPC and other HE procurement consortia on responsible procurement issues including Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.
  • We procure through HE or other public body consortia frameworks as much as possible, thereby supporting Modern Slavery policies.
  • In partnership with the NEUPC, we have commissioned a research project via a University of Sheffield student internship into our supply chains awareness of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 throughout their own supply networks.

We are committed to running our organisation in an ethical and sustainable manner and as part of our commitment to supporting the Base Code of the Ethical Trading Initiative; we assess suppliers at selection stage in accordance with International Labour Organisations (ILO) conventions.


4. Our future actions

In addition to the actions we have already taken to adhere to the Act, we aim to:

  • Continue to improve our training and awareness of the Act within Procurement and the wider organisation.
  • Continue to discuss the Act with our suppliers, and ensure they take proportionate and appropriate action to eradicate Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking within their supply chains.
  • Develop a Suppliers Code of Conduct that outlines our expectations from our Supply Chain to eradicate Modern Slavery within their own supply chains.
  • Develop a process for ensuring all new suppliers, regardless of financial threshold, who are set up on our vendor database self-certify they comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and ILO Standards.

Some of these actions were outlined in our previous Modern Slavery Statement and progress continues against these actions.


5. Training and measurement

We will continue to improve our training and awareness of the Act within Procurement and the wider organisation. Staff whose primary job function is Procurement will undertake continual professional development and undertake training from the Higher Education Procurement Association on Modern Slavery and Protecting Human Rights in the Supply Chain.


6. Review and approval

This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and is reviewed annually. It was approved and signed by the President and Vice Chancellor.

Professor Koen Lamberts
President and Vice-Chancellor

For and on behalf of the University of Sheffield
31st January 2021

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