Council backs motion to crack down on modern slavery
Release date: 12 December 2018
Members of Cotswold District Council have voted to adopt the Modern Slavery Charter.
At a full Council meeting on 11 December, councillors unanimously supported a motion (proposed by CDC Leader Cllr Tony Berry and seconded by the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Cllr Joe Harris). This stipulates that employees of all organisations delivering services on behalf of CDC should be trained to recognise the signs of modern slavery. In particular, those involved in procurement activities should be formally trained to gain a thorough understanding of what constitutes ethical business practices.
Additionally, all contractors wishing to do business with the Council must comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and they will also be obliged to remind workers that they are free to join a trade union or a similar organisation that offers them protection.
CDC will ensure that appropriate channels are available for staff working for partners or contractors to report any potential cases, via a whistle blower policy or the Counter Fraud Unit. They will also ask contractors submitting unusually low bids for tenders to provide evidence that they are not reliant on organisations with work practices linked to modern slavery.
Commenting on the unanimous backing for the motion, Cllr Berry said,
“Modern slavery is one of the great evils of our time and we already know of several instances in the Cotswolds. In fact, estimates show that tens of thousands of people in the UK could be victims and it can happen anywhere, to anyone.
“This motion provided a great opportunity to raise this issue in public, and for us all at CDC to demonstrate our commitment to combating modern slavery.”
Cllr Harris added,
“Forced labour is evident in many areas of relatively low paid work, and cases are often reported in the agricultural sector, the hospitality industry and the sex trade. Victims caught in this particular net are often faced with horrendous debt and the threat of violence to themselves and their families.
“The council will do its bit to fight this vile crime. We will monitor our suppliers rigrously and will alert relevant agencies if we find anything that will help stamp out modern slavery in the Cotswolds.”