Slavery & human trafficking statement

Slavery & human trafficking statement

The Shoosmiths LLP slavery and human trafficking statement is made pursuant to Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 'Transparency in Supply Chains' and was approved and signed by the Shoosmiths Operations Board on 20 July 2016. The statement will be updated annually. Shoosmiths LLP is a leading national law firm and is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (registered number OC374987). We have been delivering legal services to businesses since 1845 and our clients are serviced via our five practice groups - commercial, corporate, private client, real estate, recoveries services. Clients include household name blue chip companies, leading financial institutions and foreign owned corporates. Access Legal provides legal services for individuals and their families.

This statement relates to our financial year 2015/2016 with our year ending 30 April 2016 on which date we had 143 partners and partner equivalents and 1,512 personnel and our revenue 2015/2016 was £107 m.

Our goal is to be the leading national law firm famous for its client experience.

We operate as one team in 12 locations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, namely Basingstoke, Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Nottingham, Southampton and Thames Valley. Our supply chain entails the purchasing of goods and services that support the operation of our offices and services to our clients. Consumables purchased include office supplies, marketing materials, ICT equipment and estate services such as cleaning, waste management, office fixtures and fittings, security, uniforms and catering. Operating with integrity governs our approach and therefore our aspiration to be recognised by our stakeholders as an organisation which is a responsible corporate citizen in all our relationships. We are an equal opportunities employer and were the first top 100 law firm to achieve 'Gold Standard Investors in People' status. Our recruitment and employment procedures include appropriate pre-employment screening of all staff to determine right to work in the UK. We expect all employees to conduct business with honesty and integrity and we have a zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption. We expect our suppliers to share our commitments and approach and by collaborative working we believe we can jointly have a positive impact on society. Shoosmiths has undertaken a number of Operations Board approved activities during the last twelve months in order to better understand the Shoosmiths supply chain and therefore how identified risks might be addressed. Shoosmiths is committed to ensuring we help to effect change in tackling slavery or human trafficking and our approach has included:

  • Establishment of the Shoosmiths Supplier Code of Conduct for our goods and services suppliers. All new suppliers with effect from 1 March 2016 are requested to sign the code as well as priority identified suppliers.
  • Review and updating of our Corporate Responsibility Policy and our Purchasing Policy and Guidelines. The latter details our responsible business expectations of suppliers in a number of areas including diversity, ethical, social, environment, health and safety issues and revisions have been made to provide further guidance on slavery and other human rights issues. Our whistleblowing policy was reviewed and updated to apply to suppliers as well as employees.
  • Internal briefings provided to staff to raise awareness about the regulations and how to mitigate risk have included firm wide e mails, webinars and face to face office briefings. We are reviewing more specific training requirements for staff, especially those involved in procuring goods and services.
  • Procedure established providing guidance to practice groups and directorates on identification of potential risks and how to select priority suppliers for risk based engagement. This is to facilitate a better understanding of countries where our goods and services are supplied from, any issues identified and programmes in place to address these issues, and any third party accreditations that suppliers participate in. Accountability for supplier relations, including documenting records of responses and approaches, and follow up actions rests with the relevant practice groups and directorates. Updates are provided to the Operations Board.
  • Practice groups and directorates have not identified any internal business procedures that could make demands of suppliers or contractors that might lead them to violate human rights and will keep this under review.
  • Shoosmiths has not been informed of any incidents of slavery or human trafficking during the year but will investigate any allegations should they arise and take appropriate action accordingly.
  • In the event of a slavery or human trafficking occurring or an allegation being made the matter will be reported to our Compliance team to determine appropriate action.
  • Shoosmiths became a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact 27 January 2016 and is a member of the UK Global Compact Network Modern Slavery Working Group. As a Global Compact signatory we will report annually on our progress against the 10 principles relating to human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
  • Shoosmiths engages with other organisations to learn and to share best practice including Business in the Community and the Law Society.
  • Legal advice and training, including e-learning is provided to clients, led by our regulatory team.

In conclusion, Shoosmiths is committed to better understanding its supply chains and collaborating with stakeholders to improve transparency and address incidents of slavery or human trafficking identified.

Further details on our approach to responsible business practices including our policy statements, our annual Corporate Responsibility (CR) reports and our CR blog can be found here.

Claire Rowe
Chief Executive
Shoosmiths LLP
20 July 2016