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Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement


The following statement is made by the University of York in acknowledgement of section 54(1) part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and sets out the steps that the University has taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in our supply chains or in any part of our core activities.

Our Organisational Structure

A member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, we are committed to high quality research across a wide range of disciplines. We have over 30 academic departments, research centres, and a student body of around 17,000.

Our Policies and Actions to Prevent Slavery and Human Trafficking

The University of York has a Code of Practice and Principles for Good Ethical Governance which it follows when undertaking any academic activities. The code gives particular consideration to activities conducted overseas or in collaboration with overseas partners, in countries/under regimes with poor human rights record or identified as dangerous by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

It is a condition of employment with the University, irrespective of the type and duration of the contract, that successful candidates are able to prove they are legally entitled to work in the UK. All potential employees are asked to bring original documents, demonstrating their right to work in advance of their start date.  Right to work documents are checked for all employees prior to them undertaking any work for the University.

In terms of our supply chain, we are working in collaboration with Netpositive Futures, and have  continued to embed an online supplier engagement tool which increases awareness of sustainability issues and allows us to:

  • Establish a single mechanism to engage contracted suppliers with the issues of Modern Slavery.
  • Provide support and guidance to our supply base and share best practice.
  • Track the actions being taken and progress being made by our supply chain in addressing aspects of modern slavery.

In addition, the University is now registered in its own right with the Netpositive supplier engagement tool as a provider of services to other organisations.

We recognise that the main risk of slavery and human trafficking is in the supply chain areas of estates, ICT, laboratory goods and professional services.

 The University’s catering outlets provide Fairtrade/ Rain Forest Alliance certification tea and coffee as standard offerings and the University is extending their availability across campus. 

Developments In 2016/17:

  • The University has established an Issues Log to monitor and investigate instances of exploitative working conditions within its supply chain.
  • All suppliers who have indicated to the University they are unaware of the Modern Slavery Act have been contacted and provided with further information about the legislation and its implications. 
  • Awareness of the Modern Slavery Act as a result has increased amongst the supply chain, with suppliers who have identified they are aware of the Act up from 92% to 95%[1].

Our Future Actions

We will continue to implement and develop the following action plan to address the risks slavery and human trafficking represent in our supply chains and core operations:

  • Promotion of the NETpositive supplier engagement tool with contracted suppliers, prioritising those sectors which are at particular risk of modern slavery occurring within their supply chains.
  • Review and monitor supplier action plans through regular contract management and support initiatives to reduce the risks of human trafficking occurring.
  • Embed the use of the sustainability Issues Log within the University and monitor any instances of mistreatment as they arise.
  • Promotion of the University’s “speak up” (public interest disclosure) policy to highlight where staff can raise issues of concern around this subject.

This statement will be reviewed annually to monitor progress in minimising the risk of slavery and human trafficking occurring in any part of the University’s supply chains or core operations.  Any queries regarding this statement should be addressed to

Professor Koen Lamberts

January 2018