At Staffline, we consider working to prevent Modern Slavery happening as one of our highest priorities. We continue to work with other businesses that take it as seriously as we do, embedding the standard checks through the business model and doing whatever it takes to protect our workforce and those of others to help eradicate this terrible crime.
Our experience grows year after year, working closely with the GLAA, the police forces across the country, and collaborating with anti slavery networks in all regions. We will do whatever we can to help identity and protect victims of trafficking.
In 2019, we assisted with 41 investigations into Modern Slavery with the authorities, leading to the rescue of 33 potential victims of slavery.
We were honoured to work with some inspirational charities that work tirelessly in this field in order to assist 27 survivors of Modern Slavery back into employment, and on their way to lasting independence.
This year, we will work with more businesses to implement the checks through their business models, do what we can to raise this subject higher on ethical agendas, learn more from the SMEs, and undoubtedly provide work for more survivors to help them get their lives back on track.
Established in 1986, Staffline is now the UK’s largest recruiter and workforce provider, delivering OnSite workforce solutions to leading brands. We work in partnership with clients and candidates, meeting business needs and matching people with opportunities.
We specialise in large-scale recruitment, providing teams to help businesses succeed. Our support is flexible to meet changing demands.
We make the world of work simple, helping companies to find the right people and perform at their best. Our service and pricing are bespoke, and we offer complete protection on compliance and ethical standards.
Our OnSite services support a range of sectors including agriculture, food production, logistics, transport, manufacturing and the automotive sector. We’re based at over 400 sites nationwide and find work for over 60,000 people each day.
Our new technologies include the AI chat bot, delivering ‘always on’ communication, the Universe platform, a game-changing candidate interface, and industry-leading customer experience management programme ‘Have your Say’. These innovations drive our customer-centric approach. We lead where others follow.
The Staffline Group also includes leading public service provider PeoplePlus - which helps tens of thousands of unemployed and disadvantaged people find training and upskilling opportunities leading to better work each year.
Training & awareness
In our view, the key to raising awareness on Modern Slavery is to keep the subject alive, offer regular bite size refresher training, headlines from case studies to encourage development in the education piece. Talk about the subject freely amongst all stakeholders through the organisation, and within our supply chain, and those of others. Sharing best practice helps all the people involved learn more about it and implement new preventative measures.
We are business partners with the Stronger Together initiative, and fully support their work to help businesses understand all about Modern Slavery and their practical guidance on implementing the relevant checks into an organisation.
We have a central Compliance Team that is based between Nottingham and out in the field. They visit our operational sites delivering training to our front line staff, conduct worker welfare checks, and investigate any concerns raised with our workers, whilst ensuring full compliance across our business.
Our front and back office staff are fully aware of how Labour exploitation can affect our business and those of our clients. Everyone is aware of the red flags, which demonstrate the common indicators of Modern Slavery and report in any concerns which are investigated by the compliance team.
All cases or suspicions of Modern Slavery are fed into the GLAA in the first instance, and we link up with other enforcement authorities and charities along the way to help the victims identified and help the police find the perpetrators.
Working collaboratively with charities and organisations namely Migrant Help, Hope for Justice, Spring Housing, The Jericho Foundation, The Sophie Hayes Foundation & City Hearts has proven time after time, that the only way to tackle Modern Slavery is to work together for the wellbeing of the victims involved, achieving great results to improve the lives of so many.
One example of this is where we have worked with City Hearts via the Bright Future programme. Bright Future is an internationally recognised initiative which accelerates survivors of modern slavery back into safe, sustainable employment through a network of businesses placements. On occasions where Bright Future have needed specific placements, outside of the capacity of the Bright Future business network, Staffline were able to place 14+ workers in 2019, by utilising their extensive network of employers to source quick and safe employment for survivors, thus significantly reducing the risk of re-trafficking.
Phill Clayton, Head of Development at City Hearts says,
“We have found Staffline to have a positive and can-do attitude with every request put forward, which clearly demonstrates their passion to combat Modern Slavery within their remit”.
We work very closely with OnePay, an approved alterative payment solution for our workers, to ensure that any suspicions of Modern Slavery or other means of fraudulent usage of accounts are investigated swiftly and comprehensively.
With every victim rescued there is a potential lesson to be learnt. So learning from cases when the Police or GLAA can share related details and trends analysis is a great opportunity.
In 2019, we launched our campaign to encourage workers to know their rights and understand more about what to expect from working in the UK, with a hope that they will be more confident to report in any exploitative practices either they were experiencing themselves or from others.
This was well received and has been picked up for other organisations to use. This is something we are proud of and we will continue to think of innovative ways to raise awareness, increase our networks and deliver the message to help prevent exploitation. Our passion is work with other likeminded people and hopefully play our small part in making a difference.
Policies & Processes
In Staffline, throughout a workers journey, the checks to identify potential signs of Modern slavery are conducted. From the details that they provide on the application forms when they interview with us, through their induction training, and then throughout their employment with us. We check for any patterns with other workers details to look for signs of sharing, watch out for anomalies and investigate any areas of concern, as soon as something jumps out at us.
Working well with the local councils, we do what we can to link up with them to investigate further any houses of multiple occupancy and any over crowding issues that arise from these alerts, as we recognise that this is a common symptom of potential Modern Slavery.
All of our policies reflect the principles of protecting the welfare of our workers, looking after their well being is at the core of our business and reflected in our company values.
We constantly improve our processes to strengthen them and implement new checks as soon as we hear how the trafficker’s are evolving and learning new ways to infiltrate businesses like ours and those around us.
In November 2019 we recognised that there was a need for recruitment agencies like ours to work more closely together, to share useful information on the methods of traffickers and support each other through cases and share key learnings.
Together we formed a group called the Compliance Intelligence Network ( C.I.N.) we are hoping to develop this as a team of agencies with the same aim in mind to collaborate and be stronger together to tackle Modern Slavery.
Where we use additional avenues of recruitment, such as other recruitment agencies supplying labour into Staffline, we ensure that these are licensed by the Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority and remain compliant alongside the GLAA’s standards. We will also conduct our own regular internal audits on these “second tier” suppliers in order to ensure they meet our strict standards and have their own Modern Slavery checks in place and policies to reflect that they support to play a part in helping reduce the risk of this happening in the UK. This includes asking them to sign a statement to commit to doing so before we undertake to use their services.
We have invested in our IT system to help us run checks throughout our whole database and this helps us provide valuable information to the enforcement authorities, as and when they get in touch to ask for our assistance with cases, in 2019 alone, we were able to respond to 251 DPAs.
We are totally committed to compliance and high levels of ethical standards and strive to operate best practices at all times. Everyone in the Company is introduced to and trained to comply with our company compliance standards and operating procedures at the start of their employment.
Everyone is given the tools to identify the indicators of human trafficking and forced labour, and the reporting channels are very clear for any points of concern. As soon as an exploitation issue arises, it is urgently flagged to the appropriate authorities to investigate with the full co-operation of Staffline supporting throughout the case.
We understand that the scale of our business can be extremely helpful to link with our partners outside of our industry to help tackle Modern Slavery and raise awareness across all regions of the UK, the wider the message spreads, the better we can all be to tackle this together.
We are always learning about Modern Slavery, how it impacts businesses and affects our workforce, it’s a continuous improvement programme. Embedding the relevant checks, always talking about the subject, maintaining a strong focus on it even in times of peak supply of labour, when minds will wander away from this as their priority. We keep refresher training tips flowing, talking to workers at every opportunity, and keep the communication channels open to encourage our workers to approach us any time to have the confidence to report exploitation.
At Staffline we are fully aware and accept that with Modern Slavery it can happen anywhere, at any time, and in any part of our business and indeed anyone elses business. Where there is a need for large volumes of labour that peak and trough at various times, unscrupulous organized crime gangs will view this is an opportunity to infiltrate.
The steps we take and continue to take and improve as we learn more about this crime, will help us disrupt this activity and its not about moving it somewhere else, its about making all industries a hostile environment for the rogues to operate anywhere. We will remain to be vigilant, keep all of our staff fully up to date with any new developments, and constantly strive to monitor the effectiveness of our processes and policies.
When a concern is raised, whether it be from workers directly, or from concerned individuals spotting one of our red flags, we are confident it will be dealt with quickly, efficiently protecting any workers involved fully throughout the process. Our investigations team know what to do and when, without placing any of our workers at any further risk. We will continue to work effectively and efficiently with our partners, especially those within enforcement, to ensure that any identified victim is given the full support of the business in support of their recovery.
Modern Slavery and Trafficking is an international problem, and with the links to many criminal organisations it remains a high risk to any supply chain or business. Staffline will continue its investment in the identification & prevention of Modern Slavery, it remains a high priority for the business and that of our valued clients.
Ian Lawson - Executive Chairman
For and on behalf of Staffline Group Plc