Barchester Healthcare is one of the largest independent care providers in the UK. As an operator of over 200 care homes we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional levels of care to our residents, with each care plan tailored to an individual’s requirements.
As the face of Barchester Healthcare, our employees are a key component of our care delivery. Alongside them, some of the most important third party stakeholders in this regard are our suppliers and as a company, we predominantly use UK based suppliers and endeavour to develop close ties with them in order to keep our supply chain relatively short.
We are committed to identifying, preventing and monitoring risks of slavery, human trafficking and forced labour in our supply chain and operations. We have a zero tolerance approach to such practices.
However, we realise that words are not enough, given the importance of the issue, and that is why we have put in place a number of significant actions to ensure that we are able to meet and surpass this commitment. These are:
- Slavery and human trafficking risk mapping - We continue to use the expertise of key stakeholders to help us to identify areas for action, including reviewing the risks of slavery and human trafficking in our supply chains but, also, closer to home, in our recruitment process.
- Modern slavery policy – Modern slavery awareness now forms part of our induction programme for all our front line staff. For current employees, our modern slavery policy forms part of our main employee handbook and we are introducing a programme to raise awareness of it, having promoted it to all our employees when it was first introduced in 2018.
- Management guidance – Modern slavery awareness has been incorporated into our induction programme workbook for managers. This coming year will see us roll out a programme designed to raise awareness and understanding of modern slavery amongst our managers and empower them to handle any concerns raised with them about it. In addition, we have introduced an e-learning module regarding modern slavery so that our managers can acquire a more in-depth knowledge.
- Procurement – We expect our suppliers to adopt the same zero tolerance that we do to modern slavery. To ensure compliance with our standards all new central supply and service contracts we enter into include an obligation on our suppliers to address and be responsible for eradicating modern slavery. In addition, our suppliers are expected to agree to adhere to our modern slavery policy and provide a copy of their policy to us.
Whist we are proud of the steps we have taken above, we realise that it is just the start of the journey and over the next 12 months we will not only ensure that the work done to date is reinforced, but also continue to consider how this can be improved on going forward. In particular we are looking at introducing an electronic risk register of suppliers and potential suppliers and will continue the introduction of contractual obligations on our suppliers around modern slavery.