University takes further action to become slavery-free campus

July 4th, 2022

The university’s Modern Slavery Working Group has continued to take action over the last year following its published and nationally recognised blueprint to become a slavery-free campus.

The Slavery-Free Campus Blueprint

The university launched a pioneering 38-step blueprint to achieving a slavery-free campus in July 2021, led by our Chancellor, Baroness Lola Young.

This ambitious, transformational approach was the first of its kind globally and is aligned with the principles of the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) 2015.

Founded on research led by the university’s Rights Lab, the blueprint acts as a guide for all universities to take action towards becoming slavery free.

The team and progress at UoN

A team has been built to deliver the blueprint in full by 25/26 that reflects UoN’s supply chain and flow of funding in the university. Some achievements this year have been:

  • Procurement have developed a risk tool to incorporate MSA into tenders, working in collaboration with experts in this field from the Rights Lab. Pathfinder projects were run in 2021 on large-scale laboratory consumables and construction projects (£10-28m). MSA has now been built into a further 12 tenders this year, we have engaged our top supplier in this work and have supported more than 1,000 suppliers to sign up to NetPositives, our social value portal which guides action plans on modern slavery.
  • Multiple training sessions were delivered for campus front-line workers by the national Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and we invited colleagues from NTU. The front-line staff were those responsible for recruiting and managing operations and facilities workers and/or casual workers, who are at greater risk of exploitation, colleagues who may be able to spot the signs of modern slavery on campus during the performance of their roles in Security, Catering, and Estates, and colleagues working in student facing roles, e.g. Student Services, Hall Wardens, Counselling Services, and Students’ Union, who may be able to spot the signs of labour and/or sexual exploitation amongst the student population.
  • We continued our education of students on modern slavery as part of their degree programmes. For example, the School of Health Sciences’ degree programmes in Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy and Sport Rehabilitation educate year 1 and year 2 students on modern slavery in teaching on safeguarding and domestic violence.

Wider adoption across the HE Sector and beyond

The university intends to lead the HE Sector in this work globally and inform the approach taken by other public sector organisations.

To date, the blueprint has been adopted by universities in the UK, US and Australia as well as the Cabinet Office, local Councils and also the Commonwealth Games. This dissemination will accelerate action to end modern slavery globally by 2030.

Finally, the team’s work was recently recognised at the national Go awards where they were highly commended in the Social Value category amongst all public sector organisations in the UK.

Dr Lisa Carroll, chair of the working group said:

“During this year we have continued our relentless work towards the slavery-free campus, both within the university and in the wider community.

We have the right team to deliver, our blueprint to guide us and a passion to enact meaningful change. We look forward to achieving even more in 22/23.”

You can read the university’s latest Modern Slavery annual statement here.

If you have any comments or questions on this work, please contact

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