Statement on modern slavery

Introduction

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires large companies with a turnover of over £36m, which supply goods, or services, to publish information each financial year to reflect the steps taken to ensure there is no slavery or human trafficking in their business or supply chains. We are committed to this and agree we all have a responsibility to be alert to the risks of slavery and human trafficking, however large or small, in our business or in our supply chains.

Organisation aims and structure

Lewisham Homes is an enterprising, not-for-profit organisation, set up to improve housing in the London Borough of Lewisham.  As well as managing 18,000 homes on behalf of Lewisham Council, we operate our own maintenance company, build new homes and find valuable ways to invest in the local community.

Our Executive Management team comprises the Chief Executive, Director of Finance & Technology, Director of Development, Director of Resident Services, Director of Property Services and Assistant Director of People, Performance & Communications.

Our Chief Executive reports to the Lewisham Homes Board. The Board sets our strategic direction and uses its expertise to assist in guidance and decision making. The Board takes a close interest in performance, finance and service improvement data.

We employ nearly 600 staff with a head office in Catford, south-east London.

Our vision is to create thriving communities and places people are proud to call home; and is supported by our mission: to provide safe, quality homes, deliver efficient services and enhance life chances.  Our Corporate Plan sets out how this will be delivered by focusing on our five ambitions:

  • Landlord – consistently delivering an excellent and reliable resident experience
  • Placemaker – building and investing in safe, attractive and sustainable homes and neighbourhoods
  • Employer – enable our staff to be the best they can be
  • Partner – working in partnership to improve quality of life and life chances
  • Enterprise – being an efficient, high performing business, maximising opportunities to deliver more

Due diligence processes for slavery and human trafficking

For Lewisham Homes

We require recruiting managers to use reputable employment agencies to source labour and verify the practices of any new agency we are using before accepting workers from that agency. This is reflected in our Recruitment Policy.

We are an accredited Living Wage employer, meaning that everyone working for us, or one of our contractors, is paid a minimum hourly wage of £10.55. This is the London allowance, and is significantly higher than the national minimum per hour for over 25s.  We regularly review our terms of employment to ensure that they are fair, competitive and comply with relevant legislation.

Employees are provided with clear and transparent information about rates of pay, hours worked and legal deductions.  We expect all employees to adhere to the Lewisham Homes’ Code of Conduct.

We ensure that we have systems in place and a whistle-blowing policy to encourage the reporting of concerns and the protection of whistle blowers.

Our safeguarding and anti-tenancy fraud policies and procedures enable us to take appropriate action if slavery or human trafficking is identified within our homes by us or by our customers.  There is information and a link on our website and staff intranet for concerns to be reported.

Staff who are in contact with our residents and service users are trained to identify any safeguarding issues, which includes signs of exploitation, and to comply with the referral process to ensure that incidents of this nature are reported.  We have a dedicated member of staff who then makes referrals and works with relevant agencies such as Local Authority Social Services and the Police.

Our supply chains

Our supply chains include an extensive range of contracts with external suppliers involving the provision of a variety of goods and services.

Our procurement activities take place in England and our contractors and suppliers are UK-based. We follow The European Union Procurement Directives which govern good practice in procurement.

It is the responsibility of Directors to ensure that procurement processes are robust and identify risks in relation to slavery and human trafficking.

Lewisham Homes is committed to ensuring that suppliers adhere to the highest standards and ethics.  Relevant organisations are required to self-certify that they have complied with the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 at supplier selection stage.  Our contract management arrangements help us ensure our suppliers maintain the standards required.

Our policies are reviewed periodically to ensure that they reflect best practice and to mitigate against risks.

Staff awareness

To ensure a high level of understanding of the risks in our supply chains and our business, we have reviewed our safeguarding and whistle-blowing policies to include reference to modern slavery issues.  We refreshed our safeguarding training in 2018, so all relevant staff are aware of requirements, how to identify issues and where to report these.

Monitoring and review

This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes our slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 31 March 2019.

Ainsley signature

 

Ainsley Forbes

Chair of Board