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September 16, 2016 •

Modern Slavery: The next step for the UK Government on public procurement?

Fancis West

By Francis West
Head of Private Sector Policy & Advocacy, UNICEF UK

With most commentators invariably heaping praise on the UK’s Modern Slavery Act of 2015, it will be a surprise to some that parliamentarians are already debating amendments to the Act. While the Act is certainly ground-breaking, with 1.2 million child victims of trafficking each year, it is important that no stone is left unturned in the fight against modern slavery.

Early analysis of the Transparency in Supply Chain requirement, enshrined in the Act, showed that out of 75 company statements, only 22 were signed by a director or equivalent and available on the company’s website homepage – both of which are legally required. Only nine statements met these requirements and addressed the six reporting areas suggested in the Act such as organisational structure, company policies and due diligence. With this in mind, it’s easier to understand why Parliament has started to look for ways to make the requirement work more effectively, with public procurement being viewed as the primary tool to achieve this. Continue reading. “Modern Slavery: The next step for the UK Government on public procurement?”

August 23, 2016 •

LUPC Recommends Five Actions to Bring UK Public Procurement in Line with UNGP 6

Andy Davies

By Andy Davies
Director, London Universities Purchasing Consortium

The UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights is currently conducting an inquiry on human rights and business. London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC) is a non-profit professional buying organisation, owned by its members for its members, that aims to secure the best possible value in the acquisition of goods and services, without causing harm to others.   

We at LUPC submitted our written evidence this month. We welcomed the UK Government’s updated National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) through which it has re-iterated its commitment to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the expectation that UK plc should be undertaking human rights due diligence. But in our view, the Government’s updated NAP has missed an opportunity to use its leverage with businesses to scale up the practice of human rights due diligence, by employing public procurement as a powerful instrument of social change.

We made five recommendations that, if implemented, would enable the UK Government to fulfill its obligations under Principle 6 of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Continue reading. “LUPC Recommends Five Actions to Bring UK Public Procurement in Line with UNGP 6”

August 10, 2016 •

Public Procurement and Human Rights: Putting the House in Order

COB Photo

By Claire Methven O’Brien
Strategic Adviser, Human Rights & Development, Danish Institute for Human Rights

Michelle Obama recently reminded us that slaves built the White House.

This historical fact about one of the world’s revered political monuments took many people aback.

Yet today, via their supply chains, governments and public bodies worldwide continue to rely on forced labour, human trafficking, and other serious human rights abuses, as they did 200 years ago. Continue reading. “Public Procurement and Human Rights: Putting the House in Order”