At the meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Policy and Resources Committee (24 January) Members will consider signing up to the Co-operative Party’s Charter against Modern Slavery and action the ten items set out in the Charter.
The Co-operative Party’s Charter Against Modern Slavery goes further than existing law and guidance, committing councils to proactively vetting their own supply chain to ensure no instances of modern slavery are taking place.
The Co-operative Party are a political party of the UK co-operative movement, which includes nearly 7,000 co-operatively-owned businesses across the UK.
The Council Plan has a commitment to tackle the causes and effects of inequality and poverty. This includes a commitment to paying the Living Wage as a minimum for all employees and adult social care workers and rolling out the payment to employees working for our childcare and early years partner providers.
The Charter is intended to tackle modern slavery through ensuring that the Council’s supply chains are free from modern slavery and commits each participating Council to ten pledges, which include:
• Training our corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery
• Requiring our contractors to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015
• Challenging any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery
• Whistle-blowing systems for both the Council and our contractors for staff to report any suspected examples of modern slavery
• Refer any contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery to the National Crime Agency for investigation.
Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Elaine Murray, said: “Our Council is committed to tackling the scourge of poverty throughout the region. This includes actions to prevent people from falling into poverty; support to escape from poverty; and enabling people to lead independent, safe, happy and fulfilled lives. Providing all Members are in agreement, by signing this statement we would be making a commitment to identify and end the unacceptable practise of enforced labour and ensure fair pay in employment.”
Depute Leader of the Council, Rob Davidson went on to say: “We have previously taken steps within our Council to end this practice. Our Enterprising DG service has already established a Modern Slavery Statement for our partnership commercial organisations. This is the next stage: to pledge as a Council that we will not stand for this and we will hold our contractors to account.”