Modern Slavery Bill: transforming construction CSR and supply chain management.

No responsible organisation in construction would want any association with modern day construction slavery, forced employment, child or migrant exploitation as we read increasingly often in the mainstream news, for example Qatar construction or closer to home with construction gangmaster organisations. Hence the Modern Slavery Bill should be welcomed by the built environment sector.

Included within the Modern Slavery Bill introduced on 31 August 2015 (coming into affect on 31 October 2015) is a clause that has significance for most construction organisations – the Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) clause.

We have introduced a transparency in supply chains clause to the Modern Slavery Bill. This will require businesses above a certain size threshold to disclose each year what they have done to ensure that there is no modern slavery in their supply chains and own business. This will be a truly world-leading measure. There are similar transparency requirements in California, but they only apply to businesses producing goods for sale, whereas this disclosure will apply regardless of what it supplies, whether goods or services.
Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, Karen Bradley

What does the Bill and Transparency Clause mean for construction:

Chris Blythe, CE CIOB in Foreword to the CIOB Dark Side of Construction publication: The dark side – the systematic exploitation of millions of vulnerable migrants – is rarely acknowledged, even by the clients and multinationals that commission and create our shiny new cities. Our sector is rife with human rights abuses. Bonded labour, delayed wages, abysmal working and living conditions, withholding of passports and limitations of movement are all forms of modern slavery.

The scope of the TISC clause will cover construction products companies importing goods or components to the UK, as well as contractors and consultancies operating in the home markets and/or overseas.

The Modern Slavery Bill (with its Transparency in Supply Chains clause) will transform and elevate construction CSR and Supply Chain Management as important legislative responsibility processes.

Organisations with a turnover of £36 million will have to:

  • publish a “slavery and human trafficking statement” setting out the steps it has taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in its supply chains and within its own business.
  • From October 2016, to publicly share their policies and strategies to tackle modern slavery in their supply chains.

Guidance on what might be included in such a statement:

  • Companies’ due diligence processes relating to slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains;
  • Reporting on the parts of companies’ supply chains where there is a risk of slavery and trafficking taking place, and how to assess and manage such a risk;
  • Reporting on staff training on slavery and human trafficking;
  • Reporting on companies’ effectiveness in ensuring that slavery and trafficking are not taking place in their businesses or supply chains.

“Implications of non-compliance with this reporting obligation in such a morally compelling context could leave a large dent in an otherwise sterling company reputation” Victoria Ball, projects & construction associate at law firm Trowers & Hamlins

“It will involve a deep dive into the supply chain to understand what’s really going on many tiers down – getting visibility of the many layers to truly see the conditions of workers at the bottom of the chain. The message to companies is clear – it is no longer an option to stay below the radar, refuse to take responsibility for problems in your supply chain and hope you won’t get exposed.”Cindy Berman, head of knowledge & learning ETI

What is not so clear is where the responsibility under the Bill rests for SME’s below the threshold that have organisations above the threshold within their supply chains. Most construction organisations procuring goods and services from large product distributors or manufacturers.

Actions construction and built environment organisations should take?

  • Embed Modern Slavery into CSR policies and statements, where, arguably there should be a statement anyway if base on a recognised CSR structures(eg ISO 26001, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), JUST, Global Compact or the Human Rights Charter)
  • Understand the concept of Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC)
  • Include questions statements in supplier procurement processes. (And probably best to do so for all suppliers who are close to or over the threshold)
  • Develop a PQQ and Project Bid standard text.
  • Understand what an annual“slavery and human trafficking statement” for your organisation could look like

And of course, these good practices should be adopted even if below the £36million turnover threshold as a matter of social responsible construction.

Sources:

Related iSite blogs:

JUST: a social justice label for construction …

Constructing CSR iTransparency 

Understanding CSR in Construction

Understanding the Social Value Act for better bids …

The Social Value Act 2012 was established in part to help understand the difference between a contracts cost and a contracts value and to encourage greater collaboration between voluntary, community and private sectors.

Bid responses for public sector work can be greatly improved by a through understanding of and addressing the concepts of the act. Waste and recycling company Veolia Environment Services have recently released a new and useful youtube video explaining the Social Value Act from their perspective

Also, from – Towards New Innovative Collaborations

The Social Value Act 2012 introduces social benefits into public procurement of private services. It requires local authorities and other commissioners of public services to consider how their services can benefit people living in the local community. Under this legislation, local authority procurers must now consider how they can improve the social impact of their public service contracts before they start the procurement process.  More…

PQQ Specification PAS 91 now to include BIM

I have blogged a number of times on PAS 91, the Publicly Available Specification for PQQ’s, (eg here) and on BIM, Building Information Management, (eg here – What is BIM)

But … until now separately …

It is encouraging to note then that Construction Manager published news that the new version of PAS 91 will include BIM, asking bidders on their experience of using Building Information Modelling.

Although PAS91 has maybe not had the take up anticipated, its influence on other PQQ’s is noticeable. Hence the inclusion of BIM into the PAS can only reinforce the importance and the need to act on BIM, from both clients and contractors.

A consultation on the draft version of the updated PAS91 has just concluded. The drafting committee convened by the British Standards Institute, which  authored the original form, will study the comments and issue a final version before Christmas, according to Brian Such, project manager at BSI Standard Solutions.

The draft asks about an organisation’s understanding, capability and willingness in BIM, said Such. “In the last two years interest in building information modelling has grown rapidly – and it felt appropriate and helpful to expand in this direction.”

The government has mandated BIM on all public projects from 2016. (See the Government Construction Strategy)

Proposed new version of PAS 91:

Required

•  Supplier identity, key roles and contact information

•  Financial information

•  Business and professional standing

•  Health and safety policy and capability

Optional

•  Equal opportunity and diversity policy and capability

•  Environmental management policy and capability

•  Quality management policy and capability

•  Building Information Modelling

Notes:
 
I am currently assisting a number of contractors in developing a BIM preparation strategy, based on collaborative working principles and approaches.
 
I recently co-authored a NFB Guide to PAS91:2010 which will be updated following issue of Revision 2
 
If you would like to know more, or receive an outline of a preparation strategy please do get in touch via email or twitter
 
A copy of PAS91:2010 can be downloaded from the BSI site

Blink: the importance for bid interviews and presentations

Currently re-reading Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking in advance of a bidding interview and presentation workshop for contractors tomorrow(*)

According to Malcolm Gladwell,  decision and impressions may occur much faster than previously thought – think instantaneously or in two seconds.

The interview panel may then, without thinking, have made their first impressions as you walk in the room, before you start talking or presenting, yet we focus on content and presentation rather than team composition, team appearance and team impression.

Whenever we have to make sense of complicated situations or deal with lots of information quickly, we bring to bear all of our beliefs, attitudes, values, experiences, education and more on the situation. Then, we thin-slice the situation to comprehend it quickly. The implications of this concept have astonishing significance for our personal reactions to most situations.

We should of course be using this thinking and Gladwells research to advantage.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of the bestselling The Tipping Point explores the extraordinarily perceptive and deceptive power of the sub-conscious mind. Gladwell’s major claim is that decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as a decision made cautiously and deliberately. What we are actually doing is what Gladwell calls ‘thin-slicing’. When we leap to a decision or have a hunch our unconscious is sifting through the situation in front of us looking for a pattern, throwing out the irrelevant information and zeroing in on what really matters. Our unconscious mind is so good at this that it often delivers a better answer than more deliberate and protracted ways of thinking. Much of this is utterly mysterious but some of the most astonishing and useful examples of thin-slicing can be learned.

(*) Contact me for information on bid interview and presentation skills support and workshop

Three reasons to give your PQQ and Bids an independent Health Check

 

One: Many PQQ’s and Bids ‘deselect’ themselves through errors and omissions. It is obviously far better for errors, omissions, questions not (fully) answered or formatting issues to be picked up by independent review rather than your client. Don’t throw away valuable points…

 

Two: Make your bid content the best it can be. Make sure your PQQ response is a killer, with compelling evidence, sparkling innovation and best practice awareness.

 

Three: Learning gained with one independent health check can be transferred to future bids, ensuring increased success potential

 

Independent reviews of your PQQ and Bids can be conducted through Fairsnape

 

Simply forward your responses prior to submitting to your client, giving enough time for review and your updating of the bid. In addition to Health Checks, other bid services are available, for example reviews of failed bids, PQQ training and coaching, bid writing and support, along with interview and presentation skills support. Get in touch to discuss more.

 

 


#PQQplus Tips: No 3: Innovative Responses

In addition to including innovative content and experience in bids, be sure to make use of freely available social media that can demonstrate how innovative and forward thinking your organisation is. 

For example:
  • link to innovative products, processes and or awards for example
  • link to your staff linkedin profiles, in particular your proposed project manager!
  • link to any relevant presentations or slides on slideshare
  • and of course make use of URL shorteners (such as http://bit.ly/) to allow links to be used when the document is printed
Not only will such use of social media show innovative flair, it is for the time being a real differentiator, and makes maximum use of word limits.

However, as with all submissions ensure that content and any links are independently checked, either in house or externally, allowing good time to make amendments and improvements before submitting to your client.