Modern Slavery Report – And A “Procurement Services” Cock-Up

slavery

We’ve touched on the issue of “modern slavery” a number of times, as it has gained a higher profile as an issue in the UK and indeed globally. It is shocking how many people suffer in this way, whether it is domestic “slaves” in fancy London houses, Bangladeshi workers on construction sites in the Middle East whose passports are taken away, Chinese students forced to work in electronics factories during their “holidays”, or African women trafficked and forced to be sex workers in European capital cities.

The UK now has an Anti-Slavery Commissioner, and most readers will know that CIPS – the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply – has made this a major campaigning and good practice issue for the organisation and is trying to make it so for the whole procurement profession. Much modern slavery is linked to supply chain activities and procurement executives are well-placed to spot it, take action against it, and put policies in place to discourage it in their supply chains.

All that seems obvious really. So it is disappointing that the first annual report from the UK Commissioner is so light on that supply chain aspect of the issue. Perhaps that is because Kevin Hyland, who was appointed to the role, is himself an ex-policeman, the former head of the Metropolitan Police’s world renowned Human Trafficking Unit. We heard him speak at Procurex Wales Live recently and he was very good, we should say.

But maybe because of his background, the report seems to focus most strongly on the legal, enforcement, social welfare and policing aspects of modern slavery. Much of it is good and interesting stuff, but it is not strong on the role that businesses can have in terms of making sure their supply chains are slavery free, let alone the role of procurement professionals.

Perhaps most embarrassingly, the one and only mention of CIPS is this, where we have a list of the collaborations that the Commissioner is undertaking; “working collaboratively with the Chartered Institute of Procurement Services (CIPS)…”

Yes, spot the (not deliberate) mistake! We suspect David Noble, the CIPS CEO who has put a lot of personal energy and effort into this issue, might be rather annoyed. CIPS has developed an e-learning package, for instance – is that not worth a mention in the report? The Commissioner’s Advisory Panel is also very skewed, with three lawyers out of the 10 members, and not a single business / supply chain person.

We might suggest that Hyland apologises to Noble and offers him – or a senior procurement leader – a place on the advisory panel. The procurement community can do a lot to help in terms of this issue, but a bit more recognition for the profession and for CIPS might be nice. The report is well worth a read if you have any interest in the topic, by the way, despite our concerns.

 

Voices (3)

  1. Dan:

    When the powers-that-be view your organisation as so unimportant that they can’t even be bothered to check they got its name right, it must be pretty obvious they’re not thinking of giving you a licence to practice

    1. bitter and twisted:

      Good

  2. Joe Wightman:

    David Noble might also be annoyed as CIPS is the “Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply”, not services……

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