It is now a legal requirement that large organisations formulate and publicise a policy statement regarding modern slavery and human trafficking. The National Theatre is a large organisation for these purposes and welcomes the opportunity to state very clearly its policy in these respects.
The National Theatre unreservedly condemns, wherever situate, the practices of modern slavery and human trafficking. Such practices have no place, and will find no support of any kind, in any of our or our subsidiaries’ businesses. Furthermore, we intend to be vigilant in making decisions regarding our suppliers or potential suppliers by means of seeking confirmations and commitments as to the absence of these practices in their businesses; and by withdrawing from existing contracts (where we may lawfully do so), or by declining to enter into or renew a contract with a supplier or potential supplier, should our counterparty be unable to give us such confirmations and commitments.
The National Theatre is also required to publicise annually, on its website, its activities over the latest financial year aimed towards the eradication of modern slavery and human trafficking. The first relevant year for us is that which ends on 26 March 2017. We will ensure that the statement of activities for each year is posted on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after the year end.
Should there be any questions or concerns as to the implementation of these requirements, please direct them to the Chief Operating Officer. In the case of staff, the Whistleblowing policy (see the Intranet under Policies>Staff) is hereby extended with immediate effect to cover any such concerns.
The Royal National Theatre financial year 2016 to 2017
2016/17 was the first financial year of The Royal National Theatre in respect of which the company was obliged under the Modern Slavery Act to post to its website an annual review of the steps taken to promote the eradication of modern slavery and human trafficking in its businesses and those of the parties in its supply chains.
The company has many thousands of suppliers to its business and management has accordingly had to prioritise the actions that it might take with a view to assisting in the eradication referred to above. With regard to the very large number of suppliers which provide us with goods and services of relatively low value, we have amended our standard purchase orders so as to include a representation on the part of the supplier as to the absence of modern slavery and human trafficking in their businesses. At the other end of the scale, there are many high-value contracts which we have not prioritised in light of the nature of the supply. The approach we have taken is to look first at those contracts which entail the supply of labour as one of the major elements of the overall supply, whether that supply is a direct supply to the company or to the supplier via intermediate contracts up the supply chain. The generic scope of such contracts is information technology, housekeeping, security and food and beverage.
With regard to information technology, we have developed standard supply documentation which includes a provision whereby the supplier represents that modern slavery and human trafficking form no part of its or its group companies’ businesses and that it has received similar confirmations from its own suppliers. It is not always possible to utilise the company’s own standard documentation but, in any event, the company generally finds little resistance to the inclusion of anti-modern slavery provisions.
The principal area of concern in the information technology space is the supply of hardware, which is not a large item of expenditure for us although it is material and resides with one particular supplier. This supplier has agreed to include in its contract with us our standard anti-modern slavery provisions. We have also identified two significant suppliers of software to us that we would expect to have very significant hardware suppliers up their supply chains. We have contacted the relevant suppliers requesting that they include similar provisions in their contracts with their hardware suppliers and we await replies.
The contracts relating to housekeeping and security are high-value contracts requiring the greatest focus on the provisions relating to modern slavery and human trafficking as they cover primarily the supply of labour to the company (the work being outsourced). The company has just one contract in each of these two important areas, both of which fall due for renewal in March 2018. The current housekeeping contract does in fact have anti-slavery provisions since it was last renewed just two years ago. The current security contract does not yet include them but will do so upon renewal. In the case of each of those contracts, there are provisions linking wages payable by the contractor to the London Living Wage.
With regard to food and beverage contracts, while labour in respect of catering within the National Theatre is not outsourced, the company recognises that there is some possibility of goods and services that it acquires emanating from risk areas up the supply chain. In the case of food and beverage suppliers, we have approached this by taking ten supply contracts at the higher end of contract values and requiring the supplier to include in its contract terms our standard anti-slavery provisions, which include confirmations as to behaviour up their supply chains. Of these, nine have responded favourably and the last one has assured us that it is actively working its way through its own suppliers – of which there are a great many – with a view to accumulating adequate support to agree the wording regarding supply chains that we look for in this exercise.
Sir Damon Buffini
Chair of The Royal National Theatre