Tackling exploitation: Council signs Modern Slavery Statement

Cardiff Council has underlined its commitment to safeguarding vulnerable people in a new statement on how the risk of modern slavery will be managed and minimised in the city.


The statement, which was signed yesterday by the authority's Anti-Slavery and Ethical Employment Champion, Cllr Chris Weaver and Chief Executive, Paul Orders, gives an overview of actions the Council has already taken and efforts it will make to counter the potential for modern slavery or human trafficking within its own business or supply chains.


New figures released this week by theNational Crime Agency show that there was a 30% increase in the number of potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery in Wales in 2018 with 251 National Referral Mechanism referrals.


The Council is already working in partnership with Welsh Government, the wider public sector, suppliers and services providers to address the challenges posed by potential incidences of modern slavery and was the first public body to sign the Welsh Government's Code of Practice: Ethical Employment in Supply Chains.


A number of policies and strategies are also in place, including the authority's Corporate Safeguarding Policy, which outlines the commitment to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children, young people and adults at risk and to ensuring that effective practices are in places throughout the Council and its commissioned services.


The new statement sets out the important role employees have to play in identifying cases of modern slavery or exploitation and their responsibility to report safeguarding concernsin relation to a person at risk.  Tailored training has been developed for Council employees to be able to identify the signs of modern slavery and to know the steps to follow in suspected cases.


Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance and Anti-Slavery and Ethical Employment Champion, Cllr Chris Weaver, said: "Sadly, slavery is not something consigned to the history books and figures show that potential victims of trafficking in Wales are on the increase over recent years.


"Tackling poverty and inequality is a priority for us. We are committed to socially responsibly practices within the organisation and work with partners and suppliers so they understand our values and expectations of them.


"But as an organisation that spends more than £430m with over 8,000 suppliers each year, while our spend is predominantly with UK-based companies, we recognise that our supply chains spread across the world and there is the potential for modern slavery within those chains, unless robust and effective measures are in place to minimise the risk.


"This new statement outlines how we're taking this agenda forward and we will continue to review and develop processes to tackle the matter. Staff will play a key role in the protection of potential victims of exploitation and we are committed to supporting and equipping our workforce to spot the signs of modern slavery and how to report it."