The Law Society Group, comprising the Law Society as the professional and representational body for solicitors in England and Wales, and the Solicitors Regulation Authority as the independent regulatory body for solicitors in England and Wales ('the group'), supports the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and opposes modern slavery and human trafficking. It is committed to ensuring that such practices have no place within its supply chain or other activities.
The group has reviewed and revised its suite of standard terms and condition templates for the procurement of goods and services to ensure appropriate contractual provisions are in place. These provisions require suppliers to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and to have in place such policies and procedures and to take all necessary measures to ensure that nothing relating to dealings in respect of the group, or otherwise within a supplier’s business and supply chain, involves slavery or human trafficking. Similar amendments to the group’s standard purchase order terms located on its website have been implemented. Bespoke terms and conditions for future non-standard procurement requirements shall also contain equivalent provisions.
Each business within the group’s established strategic supplier base (the top 30 suppliers by spend), representing approximately 60 per cent of its procurement expenditure, has been requested to provide evidence of its stance on slavery and human trafficking, their relevant policies and procedures and the due diligence they undertake to mitigate the risk of such activities entering their supply chain.
Supplier selection processes have been developed and implemented by the group’s Sourcing Department to embed slavery and human trafficking criteria into the evaluation of potential suppliers (for example in Request for Proposal and Invitation to Tender documents) and requiring such organisations to provide evidence of appropriate policies and procedures. This will inform, on a case by case basis, the group’s decision whether to engage further with potential suppliers of goods and services.
In addition to the complex procurement requirements involved in supporting the operation of the group as a whole, the Law Society also undertakes certain commercial activities as part of its service to solicitor firms and individual solicitors in England and Wales. The Law Society is equally committed to excluding slavery and human trafficking from such commercial activity as it is from group procurement spend.
The Law Society has therefore embedded slavery and human trafficking criteria into the processes and documentation used for evaluating the potential commercial providers of the goods and services it endorses to the solicitors’ profession.
All existing endorsed Law Society commercial partners have been requested to provide evidence of their stance on slavery and human trafficking, their relevant policies and procedures and the due diligence they undertake to mitigate the risk of such activities entering their supply chain.
All future commercial endorsement contracts will include provisions requiring partner organisations to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and to have in place policies and procedures and to take all necessary measures to ensure that nothing in their activities relating to the Law Society, or otherwise within their business and supply chain, involves slavery or human trafficking.
The Law Society’s standard form of contract for sponsorship agreements, under which organisations are permitted to sponsor Law Society events, has been amended to include appropriate slavery and human trafficking related provisions.
Finally, a limited company in which the Society has an equity shareholding has been approached and has confirmed it is aware of and shall comply with all applicable obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Slavery and human trafficking statement for financial year ending 31 October 2017
Continuing to build on our position from October 2016, the Group has put in place the following developments in 2016-17:
Each supplier within the Group’s top 50 suppliers by spend, and all suppliers known to have overseas operations, are being asked annually to update supplier due diligence information. This represents approximately 65 per cent of its procurement expenditure. They will be asked to provide evidence of their stance on slavery and human trafficking, their relevant policies and procedures and the due diligence they undertake to mitigate the risk of such activities entering their supply chain.
All our new suppliers will continue to go through this due diligence process to ensure that the same level of rigour is applied to new suppliers as is applied to our existing supplier base.
Our Procurement team have received training on modern slavery issues in procurement and will continue to do so annually. Following the training, the Procurement team is developing a Procurement Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Policy for the Law Society Group which will be signed off at board level across the Group. We are committed to raising awareness and building on this process in the future.
Through the next year we will use our review meetings with key suppliers to spot check and discuss their processes to ensure these due diligence processes are put into practice.
Paul Tennant, interim chief executive