Modern slavery - Avenues Group

Modern Slavery Statement

This statement is made on behalf of the Avenues Group (Avenues) and all its subsidiaries; Avenues South East, Avenues London, Avenues East and Avenues South.

Avenues is a specialist provider of support services for people with autism, learning disability and acquired brain injury with 1700 staff supporting around 650 people across our subsidiaries on the South East, West Midlands, London and East of England.

Avenues is committed to excluding the existence or prospect of modern day slavery within the whole Group and that of its supply chain. Avenues acknowledges that it has an obligation to make a slavery and human trafficking statement setting out the steps it is taking to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in any of its supply chains or in its own business under section 54 (1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This constitutes our statement for the financial year ending 31 March 2021.

Avenues have a comprehensive range of suppliers in relation to the provision of services that a social care organisation would normally require.  The organisation considers its main exposure to the risk of slavery and human trafficking are providers of agency staff, building, maintenance and cleaning contracts.  We look to work with organisations that share our values and work ethically and with integrity and where we can check their suitability.  We do not engage with any organisation which knowingly supports or is found to be involved in slavery, forced or compulsory labour.

We recognise that due to the vulnerabilities of some of the people we support they may be at risk of exploitation. We train our employees to be aware of this risk in Safeguarding training courses and follow Adult Safeguarding Procedures to ensure that we manage this risk.

The Organisation has the following policies which further define its stance on modern slavery:

  • Whistleblowing – Avenues whistleblowing policy is written in line with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. Criminal offences in the public interest such as Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking are deemed as subjects worthy of disclosure.  The Whistleblowing policy sets out the process and means by which an employee can and should blow the whistle and also the protection from victimisation that they should expect to receive as a result of making a disclosure.  Employees are encouraged to make disclosures in good faith under their own name, however there are also means for them to make them anonymously and / or to a third party if they wish.
  • Safeguarding – our policy sets out definitions of abuse, including Modern Slavery, which could give rise to a safeguarding concern,
  • Employee Code of Conduct – Although Avenues believes that employees are entitled to their own values and beliefs, they are expected to work to the Purpose, Vision and Values of the organisation. The code of conduct is clear about the standards of conduct and behaviour that Avenues expects of them when representing Avenues.
  • Safer Recruitment – We operate a robust recruitment and people management process, including conducting eligibility to work in the UK checks for all employees. We want to provide a safe environment for all our employees and to safeguard from any form of abuse or duress. We only use reputable employment agencies, temporary and permanent, to source additional labour, who comply with our polices, and recognise and practice our values

To ensure we remain compliant we:

  • Regularly review our purchasing processes
  • Ensure that our HR and payroll systems are able to report on any potential breach of this legislation
  • Maintain good and open communication with our supply chain to ensure that there is clear understanding of our expectations

Next steps

In addition to continuing to review our processes, policies and training outlined above, we will:

  • consider producing a Procurement Policy
  • consider the introduction of a specific Modern Slavery e-learning module
  • consider setting up a dedicated section on our intranet with information and support available to all employees

This statement has been approved by Avenues Group Board

Board approval date              12 October 2021

 Signed                

Jo Land, Group Chief Executive

www.modernslaveryregistry.org