Slavery and human trafficking statement

Our slavery and human trafficking statement outlines the strategies and actions we have taken to identify, prevent and mitigate slavery and human trafficking in our own operations and supply chains.

5. Risk Assessment and Due Diligence

Human rights is considered systematically alongside other economic, social and environmental factors by using the National sustainability test tool and associated relevant supporting guidance. Our procurement staff use this tool for all regulated procurements (from £50,000 and above) to establish ethical risk we can influence and identify mitigating action through tender and contract management techniques. The tools and guidance take account of procurements which may be affected by human rights considerations, in alignment with the UN Guiding Principles and including issues such as human trafficking and conflict minerals.

The following section reflects sectors from which the Scottish Government procures services and where, globally, issues have been previously reported with regards to slavery and trafficking risk.

5.1 Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

There are recognised human rights risks and exploitation associated with the global supply chain for electronic products, from example as outlined by the Responsible Business Alliance. The Scottish Government have a suite of collaborative Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products framework agreements in place - these are national frameworks which can be used by all Scottish public bodies.

When putting these frameworks in place we focused on reducing social, economic and environmental impact and delivering initiatives aligned to Scotland's National Outcomes and Ministerial priorities. We have included robust terms and conditions which allows for continuous improvement through contact management and provides scope to request and obtain information on supply chain risk and issues to help mitigate the risk of unethical practices throughout the supply chain.

In line with our legislative requirements these frameworks include contract terms and conditions to allow for contract termination if the contractor or a sub-contractor fails to comply with environmental, social or employment law when carrying out these frameworks.

Contract and supplier management are key, and in these frameworks there is a focus on ethically traded supply chains. We continue to ensure that our suppliers conduct appropriate due diligence in relation to supply chain activities and provide transparency of business and supply chain operations to ensure that legislative obligations and best practice are applied and adopted in relation to modern slavery, labour standards, working conditions and human rights. This can include onsite compliance and the sharing of auditing and reporting for monitoring and improving labour standards in their supply chain.

We also continue to check whether our existing, relevant contractors have published a Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement to ensure compliance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

5.2 Construction

The nature of construction work creates a high risk of human trafficking and exploitation/modern slavery - the industry has traditionally used many temporary migrant workers and long supply chains whilst procuring key materials from a wide range of countries. The use of abnormally low tenders and low-profit margins increase the likelihood of exploitation of the workforce[2].

In 2020, we undertook a Construction Portfolio Review. This identified an indicative spend on construction by the public sector in Scotland of around £2.9 billion per annum and therefore a potential list of commodities which could be procured through a series of frameworks. We are procuring a Civil Engineering Framework which will be the first construction framework we will take to market. This will include requirements on human trafficking and exploitation/modern slavery.

In addition, we will review the Client Guide to Construction Projects to include guidance on Fair Work and human trafficking and exploitation. This will include amendments to the guidance on Abnormally Low Tenders in Chapter 8 of the Construction Procurement Handbook. This will ensure that public sector clients look for signs of human trafficking and exploitation within the workforce including in the supply chain when investigating potentially abnormally low tenders. We have also issued guidance for the public sector on setting up Project Bank Accounts (PBAs) for construction projects to ensure contractors are paid promptly and fairly.

5.3 Effectiveness in ensuring that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place

Our approach to human rights, including preventing human trafficking and exploitation in our supply chains across the wide range of goods, works and services that we procure, is to consider actions on a case by case basis. This approach ensures relevance and proportionality and takes into account the subject matter of the contract and associated market analysis, along with value and risk. Any actions being taken to manage human rights procurement risks are recorded centrally on our internal contract register.

  • We are considering human rights systematically in all our regulated contracts by using the sustainability test and its relevant supporting guidance.
  • We continue to check whether our existing, relevant contractors have published a Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement to ensure compliance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
  • We are managing human rights considerations and any potential human trafficking and exploitation risks though effective contract management;
  • We are engaging with the policy team that leads on human trafficking and exploitation in Scotland.
  • We are a member of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy Action Area Group which focusses on addressing the causes that foster trafficking and exploitation.
  • We issued guidance for public bodies in 2020 on Reducing the risk of human trafficking and exploitation in the performance of public contracts.
  • We share news and updates about human trafficking and exploitation with those who have an interest in public procurement in Scotland via our procurement blog.



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