Modern slavery statement 2021

Modern slavery encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

Great Places is committed to eradicating modern slavery in all forms throughout our direct operations and our wider supply chain.

Who is Great Places?

Great Places Housing Group is a registered, not for profit, social housing provider working across 30+ local authorities in the North of England providing rented homes, low cost home ownership opportunities, private management services and support services for people in need.

Following our merger with Equity Housing Group on 1st April 2020, we have approximately 25,000 properties in our portfolio, and in 2020/21 achieved a turnover of over £130m. We employ approximately 800 colleagues and are a living wage employer with a strong commitment to supporting and developing our employees to achieve their potential.

Our Risk Areas

Within each of our directorates, an assessment has been undertaken to identify any high risk activities or functions where modern slavery and/or human trafficking are known to be more prevalent. This exercise identified the following risk areas:

  • Development of new homes – construction workers and supply chain
  • Procurement of electronic devices and component parts
  • Procurement of repairs materials, parts, etc.
  • Use of facilities management and grounds maintenance contractors
  • Tenants employed as sex workers or cannabis farm “gardeners” 

Within each of these areas, we will liaise with our colleagues, contractors and supply chain partners to ensure that risks are managed effectively and that employment practices are in line with our expectations.

Our structure

The legal structure of Great Places Housing Group comprises the following companies and is overseen day to day by Chief Executive (Matthew Harrison) and 4 Executive Directors

Great Places’ Board is currently made up of 9 Non-Executive Directors plus the Chief Executive and is chaired by Tony Davison, with a further 3 Non-Executive Directors making up the Cube Board.

The structure chart below outlines the legal relationships between the members of the Group.

 Layout of organisations - if you need an accessible copy please contact us

  

What have we achieved in the past 12 months?

During 2020/21, we committed to deliver a number of actions in order to address the priority areas that we had identified. The information below summarises our progress against these actions:

Action identified Progress made in 2019/20
Re-procure a number of contracts which fall within our high risk areas, including our ICN Development framework, and our repairs sub-contractors. We will also review our approach to the delivery of grounds maintenance services – an area in which the prevalence of modern slavery is high across the UK. Our ICN Development Framework was successfully re-procured despite the challenges of getting this over the line during lockdown in early 2020. 

Our plans to review the grounds maintenance service were somewhat delayed by the pandemic and this action will roll over into 2021/22
Continue to deliver mandatory training on Modern Slavery, and targeted campaigns to front line colleagues on how to spot the signs, and how to respond in order to protect the victims and identify the perpetrators Modern slavery continues to be a mandatory training session for all new employees and was also rolled out to all colleagues who joined from equity in April 2020. we have also closely aligned our modern slavery training to our safeguarding approach to ensure connections are made effectively with the appointment of a safeguarding specialist role.

The senior leadership team also attended a specialist safeguarding course in February which made closer connections to modern slavery


What Are Our Future Actions For 2020/21

Over the next 12 months, we will:

  • Re-focus on the review of our grounds maintenance services
  • Re-procure a number of higher risk areas across facilities management and our supply chain i.e. tree maintenance, window cleaning, PPE supply
  • Update our approach to supplier due diligence to ensure that we have confidence in their commitments to combating modern slavery
  • Review our corporate modern slavery risk assessment to feed in to the review of our Modern Slavery Policy which is due in June 2022

Conclusion

We are not aware of any modern slavery or human trafficking incidents have occurred within Great Places or our supply chain within 2020/21, but will continue to act vigilantly and in line with the Modern Slavery Act throughout 2021/22.

Signed Matthew Harrison Chief Executive Date 25 March 2021