The UK government is using guidance developed by CIPS to help tackle the risk of modern slavery in public procurement supply chains.
CIPS’ online training and ethical test were launched alongside a free modern slavery assessment tool for suppliers developed by the Home Office at an event in London, co-hosted with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Along with slavery the e-learning covers fraud, bribery and corruption, human rights abuses, the impact of procurement, and the environment.
The course will be available to all CIPS members for free, and at a discounted rate for all civil service commercial staff.
CIPS has also been involved in the development of new guidance on tackling slavery in the supply chains, due to be published by the Cabinet Office (CO) shortly. This will be made available to commercial staff across the public sector.
Malcolm Harrison, group CEO, CIPS, said: “We are pleased to continue our work with the government on this issue of immense importance. Ethics in the supply chain and modern slavery, as one of the most heinous of crimes in our modern society, must have more focus.
“Professionals must be equipped with the best possible knowledge and guidance so they have the confidence to tackle the issue appropriately and not just close their eyes and hope that no slaves exist with their suppliers.
“Also employers must be confident that the professionals they employ and entrust their significant spend to have the latest knowledge to hand and can act with speed, agility and thoroughness throughout all the tiers in their supply chain.”
Oliver Dowden, minister for implementation in the CO, said: “The government is determined to tackle modern slavery throughout society, so it is only right that we work with our suppliers to address any traces there may be within our own supply chains. This is a moral imperative. We must remember that people are at the heart of this work and just one victim is one too many.
“That is why we will be asking our suppliers to act quickly and responsibly in identifying and tackling instances of modern slavery throughout supply chains and we’re letting them know that they have our backing in tackling this serious issue.”
Cindy Berman, head of modern slavery strategy at ETI, said: “Governments have huge power and leverage. They need to show political leadership and commitment and push public sector suppliers to conduct robust human rights due diligence.
“In-house expertise and appropriate procurement policies and practices are an absolute necessity.”