Modern Slavery

 
 
North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC) 
Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement 
 
Introduction 
 
The following statement is made on behalf of NEUPC Ltd in acknowledgement of section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the “Act”) and constitutes its slavery and human trafficking statement. 
 
North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium Ltd (NEUPC) is one of six UK Higher Education purchasing consortia established to deliver and manage a wide range of collaborative framework agreements within the higher and further education sector. This statement sets out the steps that we have taken, and those that we will take, to address the issue of Modern Slavery.  
 
Our Policies 
NEUPC works collaboratively to improve sustainable procurement practices within the HE and FE Sector. We are committed to supporting the UK Government’s National Action Plan and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. 
 
NEUPC act ethically in all our commercial relationships and enforce effective processes to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any part of its supply chains or in the undertaking of its operations.  
 
Our Progress (2016 – 2018) 
 
Resourcing Sustainability 
In 2017, NEUPC invested in the use of the NETPositive Supplier Engagement tool, which we use to regularly monitor, review and ensure continuous improvement to combat slavery and human trafficking in our supply chains. The tool allows us to:
Establish a single mechanism to engage contracted suppliers with the issues of modern slavery.
Allows us as a consortia to offer support and guidance to our supply base and share best practice.
Allows us to track the actions being taken and progress being made by our supply chain in addressing aspects of modern slavery.
 
In 2018 NEUPC appointed a Responsible Procurement Manager with dedicated responsibility for embedding sustainability and ethical practice in NEUPC’s procurement processes and member services. In addition, all NEUPC procurement staff now have specific annual objectives relating to responsible procurement.  
 
Knowledge & Training 
NEUPC are dedicated to delivering meaningful training and development sessions for our members, to enhance consortia-wide knowledge of modern slavery prevention. At the NEUPC Annual Conference in April 2018 (attended by approx. 120 delegates from over 22 institutions), we hosted an Ethical Procurement workshop led by Dr Olga Martin-Ortega (University of Greenwich), a leading expert in human rights and environmental research. 
 
In March 2019, NEUPC’s Annual Conference will feature a seminar on Using Social Value Clauses in Tender Evaluations, to help delegates explore the importance of sustainable considerations – and the practicality of including and scoring ethical criteria – in the tendering process. In May 2019, NEUPC will be hosting and facilitating a full-day CPD session for our members, aimed at incorporating responsible procurement in the purchasing process.  
 
For NEUPC staff, our induction training makes clear our commitment to these measures and a copy of this statement will be issued in the Employee Handbook. All members of staff have undertaken training using the NETPositive tool and this is embedded in NEUPC systems and processes.  
 
Contributing to National Practice 
An NEUPC representative regularly attends the Higher Education Procurement Association (HEPA) National Responsible Procurement Group, to increase collaboration, share innovative thinking, and to represent the issues of our consortia and our members. 
 
NEUPC are currently achieving Level 4 of DEFRA’s Flexible Framework, a self-assessment mechanism that allows organisations to measure and monitor their sustainable procurement progress.  
 
Responsible Procurement Group 
In 2017, the NEUPC – in collaboration with its members – re-established the Responsible Procurement group. With representatives from Universities across the region, including both procurement and sustainability professionals, the group meets four times a year and operates under terms of reference that include: 
 
Giving a general oversight of sustainable procurement activities including the development of initiatives within the NEUPC membership.
Monitoring NEUPC forward contracting pipelines and identify current and forthcoming sustainable purchasing issues and practicalities.
Providing guidance, training and development, and sharing best practice collaboratively, with NEUPC members.
Promoting the sharing of sustainable procurement information between member institutions and raise awareness of local and regional sustainable purchasing arrangements.
Supporting NEUPC in the implementation of a Responsible Procurement Strategy.
Reporting periodically on progress and ensure improvements can be measured.
 
Assessing and Managing Risk
NEUPC utilises a category management approach in the delivery of all its commercial activities. We will work within these category groups to ensure that the minimisation of slavery and human trafficking risk is considered throughout the procurement process, from category strategy development to commodity sourcing plans and contract management. This allows the consortia to facilitate its membership in reducing the areas of operation which can be considered to pose high risk. NETPositives is also promoted as a key tool in all current and future procurements. 
 
Category managers have completed Impact Assessments for each of their commodity areas, to assess their various environmental, social and economic risks and impacts. All organisations with a turnover of over £36m are asked to provide a copy of their Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement as part of a new procurement process. 
 
Measuring Effectiveness 
Using the NETPositives Supplier Engagement tool, NEUPC have set the following indicators that demonstrate progress is being made, and risks being minimised, by a percentage of our supply chain.  
  
  % of Suppliers on NETPositives (Spring 2019)  
Acknowledging modern slavery is a consideration for their business.  99.4%
Ensuring they commit to take action against the risk of modern slavery occurring  82.5%
Ensuring they complete actions that address modern slavery in their business  50.7%
Set (including completed) actions to undertake training on modern slavery   19%
Our Future Plans 
NEUPC will review this statement annually in order to establish the progress made in minimising the risk of slavery and human trafficking in our supply chains. 
NEUPC is in the process of ratifying its Responsible Procurement Strategy and Action Plan, which will go live in 2019. Our new procedures will continue to enhance our practices of supplier due diligence throughout the procurement lifecycle, improve risk mitigation and aid the prevention of human rights abuses in our supply chains. Our additional goals include: 
 
Continue our supply chain due diligence work using the NETPositives tool, increasing supplier engagement with modern slavery actions.
Continue to offer modern slavery and responsible procurement training to our member institutions and partners.
Developing useful knowledge and services for our members on the subject of supply chain sustainability and modern slavery.
Deliver new Responsible Procurement initiatives.