Modern slavery statement 2019/20

This is an archived version of our 2019/20 modern slavery statement. Read our current modern slavery statement for the most up to date information.
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Modern slavery statement

The Crick is opposed to slavery and human trafficking.

The Crick is committed to better understanding its supply chains and working towards greater transparency and responsibility towards people working within them.

We will continue to monitor and work with our service partners to encourage more of them to commit to managing the risks to humans in their supply chains.

We have continued to identify and assess the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This statement was approved and published by the Crick Board of Trustees and will continue to be reviewed at least annually.

Lords Browne signature
Paul Nurse signature
Lord Browne of Madingley
The Francis Crick Institute
Sir Paul Nurse
The Francis Crick Institute

Financial year 2019/20


The Francis Crick Institute (the "Crick") is a biomedical discovery institute dedicated to understanding the fundamental biology underlying health and disease. Its work is helping to understand why disease develops and to translate discoveries into new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.

The Modern Slavery Act (the "Act") is intended to tackle conduct that constitutes the offences of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking, or that would constitute an offence if the conduct took place in the UK.

This statement sets out the steps taken by the Crick, and the steps it proposes to take, to identify, prevent and mitigate the risks associated with modern slavery across the institute. It is made pursuant to the requirements of Part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the "Act") and it constitutes the Crick's slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ended 31 March 2020.

The Crick

The Crick is a registered charity. An independent organisation, its founding partners are UK Research and Innovation (Medical Research Council), Cancer Research UK, Wellcome, University College London, Imperial College London and King's College London.

Overall responsibility for setting the strategic direction of the institute lies with its Board. An executive management team led by Sir Paul Nurse is responsible for leading the organisation and implementing its scientific vision and research strategy.

The Crick is committed to acting ethically, with integrity and transparency across its supply chain. We have, and continue to put in place appropriate processes intended to safeguard against any form of modern slavery taking place within our procurement, supply chain or contract management operations.

High-risk areas and spend categories

The Crick's workforce comprises highly educated professional occupations and the Crick does not directly employ staff in categories typically deemed to be vulnerable to modern slavery in the UK, such as unskilled domestic, agricultural and factory workers. The focus of the Crick is, therefore, on its supply chain and on ensuring there are appropriate safeguards in place in our relationships with contractors and suppliers.

The key areas in our supply chain are equipment, laboratory consumables, IT equipment and services, professional services and building services. Within these broad areas, the principal categories carrying material risks are sourcing office supplies, laboratory consumables, ICT equipment and some estates services, such as cleaning and security services.

Our approach

The Crick is committed to acquiring goods and services without causing any harm to others. As such, we remain committed to the UK Government's National Action Plan, updated in May 2020, to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

We take a multifaceted approach, which includes:

  1. Modern slavery - this Statement publicly sets out the Crick's stance on modern slavery and our continuous work to develop in this area.
  2. Recruitment policy - we operate a robust recruitment policy, including conducting eligibility to work in the UK checks for all employees to safeguard against human trafficking or individuals being forced to work against their will.
  3. Whistleblowing policy - we operate a whistleblowing policy so that all employees know that they can raise concerns about how colleagues are being treated, or practices within our business or supply chain, without fear of reprisals. This is supported by a Speak Up 'hotline' that we are launching this year.
  4. Procurement policy- this policy covers the acquisition of all goods and services from external sources, by the Crick and any of its subsidiaries, whether or not for financial consideration.

Procurement and risk mitigation

Procurement at the Crick plays an important role in our approach to combat modern slavery in our supply chain. Procurement projects follow one of two paths, an in-house tendering and contracting process or a collaborative route through purchasing consortia.

For areas of our supply chain where we believe there is a significant risk of modern slavery, our in-house tendering and contracting process allows us to identify those risks. For example, questions at the assessment stage that may provide grounds for exclusion from the tendering and contracting process for non-compliance.

The Crick is a member of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium which works with vendors in supply chains with higher risks for human rights violations, such as IT and office supplies, to encourage more suppliers to commit to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code.

To mitigate the risk posed to cleaning, catering and security staff, we ensure that all supply chain partners commit to paying the London Living Wage to all staff working at the Crick, with the exception of apprentices.

Continuous review

We will continue our commitment to better understand our supply chains and to work towards greater transparency and responsibility towards people working within them. This is underpinned with a robust supplier relationship management process and a nominated champion for the sourcing team to lead on improvements to the procurement process.

We recognise modern slavery awareness as a training need to develop wider awareness across the Crick. We are also looking to introduce expert external review of our policy and processes on modern slavery to ensure that we are working towards best in class in our approach.


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our world-leading research expertise, facilities and flexibility put us in a unique position to help tackle COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, we were able to rapidly transform labs into testing facilities and to refocus research efforts to answer fundamental questions about the coronavirus - work that will help guide the development of new tests, vaccines, treatments and clinical strategies.

When the Government issued guidance about reopening labs and research facilities, our SHS team conducted an overall Health and Safety Executive compliant risk assessment to enable a carefully-managed number of staff and workers to return safely to the building.

As part of the plans for a phased re-opening, we introduced a number of measures to ensure the safety of staff and other workers at the Crick and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

  • Weekly swab testing - allowing only staff and other workers with negative test results to work in the building.
  • Social distancing and one-way systems with clear signage throughout the building
  • A vigorous extended cleaning regime throughout the building
  • Guidance to staff with on-line tools and support for those longer-term working from home or remote working
  • New HR policies to protect the shielded and vulnerable

These measures will continue to operate for the foreseeable future and we will continue to review them in light of local and national government policy and guidance.

In light of the rapidly changing landscape, we will be assessing for any new or increased modern slavery risks, or the need to reconsider the prioritisation of previously identified risks in our operations and supply chain