This statement is made pursuant to Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and sets out the steps Countrywide has taken, and continues to take, to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in our supply chains or in any part of our business.
Our Business and Supply Chains
Countrywide is a franchise business the premier provider of grounds maintenance, tree works, landscaping and winter services across the UK.
We know that modern slavery, forced labour and human trafficking (together, Modern Slavery) is a global issue across all business sectors. We recognise our responsibility to implement and enforce effective systems and controls to ensure Modern Slavery is not taking place anywhere in our supply chains.
We use a carefully procured range of suppliers who supply the goods that we use to provide services to our customers; and support the operations of our businesses. These may include consultants and advisers, contractors, sub-contractors; but predominantly consist of third-party suppliers of vehicles, equipment, machinery and materials.
Our Processes and Policies
We have procedures in place to mitigate the risk of Modern Slavery in our supply chains. Detailed due diligence is carried out on our suppliers through a robust procurement and supplier audit process.
We also have in place systems and policies to support our efforts to eradicate Modern Slavery in our wider business, including the following:
- Modern Slavery Policy – the policy sets out our stance on modern slavery and explains how employees can identify any instances of this and how to report concerns
- Whistleblowing and Disclosure Procedure – all employees have the framework within which to raise concerns about practices within our business or supply chain. This is included with our Employee Handbook and introduced during initial induction
- Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy – this clearly states that we will not tolerate any abuse of human rights within our organisation
- Recruitment Procedures – we operate robust recruitment procedures, including conducting eligibility to work in the UK checks for all employees to safeguard against human trafficking. We also ensure that all employees are paid at a minimum, national legal standards; and that all employees are provided with a safe and hygienic working environment
Our Code of Values
Our Code of Values are intrinsic to our approach to all business activities and are recited at the start of every company meeting, commencing with “We live our Code of Values by…”. Under the heading of Integrity, the following values are particularly pertinent:
- Operating in a responsible manner: “Above the line…”
- Communicating honestly and with purpose.
This ensures that our company’s commitment to our values is routinely reinforced. Additionally, adherence to the Code of Values is an agenda item during performance reviews, ensuring they remain at the forefront of all individual, as well as company undertakings.
Our Performance Indicators
We will know the effectiveness of the steps that we are taking to ensure that Modern Slavery is not taking place within our business if no reports are received from employees or any other third parties that Modern Slavery practices have been identified.
The Coming Year
We have a zero-tolerance approach to Modern Slavery, and we act ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships. During the next financial year, we will continue to identify and assess potential risk areas in our supply chains and across our wider business operations and will act swiftly to eliminate the risk of Modern Slavery within our organisation.