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Modern Slavery Statement 2022

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 50 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 1 April 2020, we have approximately 25,000 properties in our portfolio, and in 2021/22 achieved a turnover of over £156m. We employ approximately 860 colleagues and are a real 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, including sites managed under our in-house construction company Terra Nova Developments
  • Procurement of electronic devices and component parts
  • Procurement of repairs materials, parts, etc.
  • Delivery of a grounds maintenance service
  • Use of facilities management contractors
  • Tenants who fall victim to criminal exploitation i.e. employed as sex workers, cannabis farm “gardeners”, or cuckooing activities

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 5 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 4 Non-Executive Directors making up the Cube Board.

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

What have we achieved in the past 12 months?

During 2021/22, 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 2021/22
Re-focus on the review of our grounds maintenance services Following a thorough review of the service, grounds maintenance functions were brought in-house across the organisation to give us greater control of colleague working conditions alongside the customer experience
Re-procure a number of higher risk areas across facilities management and our supply chain i.e. tree maintenance, window cleaning, PPE supply Due to the volatility of the market, a number of lower value contracts were rolled over during 2021/22 (in line with the contract extension rules). As such, these areas will be re-evaluated in 2022/23
Review our corporate modern slavery risk assessment to feed in to the review of our Modern Slavery Policy which is due in June 2022 This exercise was completed based on our current company structure and departmental functions and the risk areas identified are reflected above in this statement – the changes include the addition of in-house construction activity and our newly in-sourced grounds maintenance service

 

What Are Our Future Actions For 2022/23

Over the next 12 months, we will:

  • Continue to raise awareness of modern slavery risks across the business by promoting this short video from the National Crime Agency
  • Re-procure a number of high risk contracts where modern slavery is potentially present in the supply chain; repairs sub-contractors (inc. tree maintenance), commercial laundry services, and our investment framework
  • Work with our repairs, asset management and compliance contractors to ensure we have appropriate assurance that modern slavery risks are being appropriately addressed in their supply chains

Conclusion

We are not aware of any modern slavery or human trafficking incidents have occurred within Great Places or our supply chain within 2021/22, but will continue to act vigilantly and in line with the Modern Slavery Act throughout 2022/23.