Today is Anti-Slavery day, marked on 18 October every year, which is an opportunity to raise awareness of modern slavery, and encourage organisations, business and individuals to take action to address the issue.
VGC actively take action to prevent modern slavery within the business, as well as continuing to educate ourselves through external events, and sharing best practice across the supply chain.
These are our activities in 2022 so far:
Marketing and Communications Executive Christina Donaghey attended the ‘protecting your business by protecting workers wrights’ webinar hosted by the GLAA. The webinar covered the latest trends reported by the GLAA in criminal activity in this area, as well as a 10-point workers checklist to ensure ethical and responsible recruitment and onboarding.
Lunch and learn to VGC staff
Chief Operating Officer, Ciara Pryce hosted a ‘lunch and learn’ for all VGC staff on modern slavery prevention. With over 50 attendees, the interactive presentation focused on spotting the signs, VGC’s response plan, and our plans to support survivors of modern slavery to reintegrate into society.
SCS supply chain enterprise academy
In June, VGC hosted the SCS HS2 supply chain academy. In collaboration with representatives from the GLAA, we delivered key information about modern slavery prevention in the industry. Michael Waters and Andy Desmond (GLAA) talked about their experiences infiltrating modern slavery schemes and rescuing victims. They also explained what modern slavery and how to spot the signs. Matt Galvin from SCS presented the SCS strategy for managing modern slavery risk on the project, control measures and support for the supply chain. Ciara focussed on VGC’s risk assessment process and strategy for eliminating modern slavery through ethical recruitment practices.
BBV Supplier Forum
Last week, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Kimberley McGinty and Compliance Manager, Nirvana Murray presented at the HS2 BBV Supplier Forum at Old Oak Common, where they provided an overview of the modern slavery risks within our sector and provided practical guidance on how VGC are mitigating this risk within our processes and behaviours.
Procurement skills accord
In May, Ciara Pryce attended the Procurement Skills Accord Awards (PSA Awards), which were announced at an annual event in Solihull. We were recognised at the ceremony, which was hosted by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, as one of 41 energy and utilities supply chain companies that successfully passed their audits to win the PSA Awards for 2021/22. To gain this award, VGC demonstrated continuous improvement in sustainable procurement and workforce practices.
Collaboration with external charities
VGC are proud to continue to support Stronger together, a charity that provides resources and training to promote and ensure responsible recruitment. We have arranged for their posters with key information, contacts and resources to be displayed in welfare areas across our sites, in multiple languages.
HSQE advisor, Fiona Dowling attended the Bright Future Celebration and Networking event at Tideway London for members of the Modern Slavery & Ethical Procurement Working Group and their supply chain. The evening was led by the Board Directors of Bright Future, and was an inspiring session, with one survivor saying that she “felt like a blanket had been placed around” her, touching many hearts.
Achilles Ethical Employment audit and Ethical Employment certification
In October 2022 we were delighted to achieve the Achilles Ethical Employment certification following a detailed audit of our processes and procedures and to be reaccredited to the BRE6002 Ethical Labour Sourcing standard for the fifth year. We are proud to have gained these accreditations as they assess our processes of engagement and employment for both direct and indirectly employed workers and commitment to continuous improvement.
Inspiration award from HS2 on modern slavery
VGC were incredibly proud to be presented with the HS2 inspiration award for modern slavery prevention at the House of Commons in July 2022. The judges were impressed by the robust recruitment, onboarding, and employee management solutions we had in place that raise awareness about modern slavery, and for managing the risk within our processes. They also liked how we share these across the industry and the supply chain.