Modern slavery statement 2021/22

Our modern slavery statement for the financial year 2021/22
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The Crick is strongly opposed to slavery and human trafficking.

The Crick recognises its responsibility to help identify and eliminate modern slavery through its activities.

We will ensure that effective due diligence procedures are in place to safeguard against any form of modern slavery taking place within our institute or our supply chain. These procedures will be reviewed and continuously improved upon over time.

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

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
16 September 2022

Sir Paul Nurse
The Francis Crick Institute
16 September 2022


Financial year 2021/22


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 section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes the Crick's modern slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ended 31 March 2022.

About us

The Francis Crick Institute was established to be a UK flagship for discovery research in biomedicine. Our mission is discovery without boundaries; to carry out world-class discovery research to understand how living things work and to drive benefits for human health.

We explore biological mechanisms at all scales from molecules through cells to organisms. Our discoveries will enhance our understanding of the fundamental processes of life, and have the potential to transform the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

To deliver our mission, we bring together expertise from different scientific disciplines and work with different types of organisations across the academic, clinical and industrial spheres. This creates a space for discovery without boundaries and supports the translation of discoveries into health benefits.

Our organisation

The Crick is an independent charity established by our six founding partners: 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 our 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 our 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.

Our workforce

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

Our supply chain

Our supply chains involve the procurement of scientific equipment, laboratory consumables, IT equipment and services, building services and professional services. Within these broad areas, the principal categories carrying risks and the potential for labour and human rights abuses associated with modern slavery are laboratory consumables, ICT equipment and office supplies and some estates services, such as cleaning and security.

Our approach

We consider the risk of modern slavery in our institute and supply chain to be low, however we recognise that we have a role to play in tackling modern slavery. The Crick is committed to acquiring goods and services without causing any harm to others and our zero-tolerance approach is supported by policies which are communicated to all our employees, contractors and suppliers. 

We take a multifaceted approach which includes:

  1. Modern slavery statement - 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 staff 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 was launched in early 2021.
  4. Sourcing 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.

Sourcing and risk mitigation

The sourcing process at the Crick plays an important role in our approach to combat modern slavery in our supply chain. Sourcing projects follow one of three paths: a private (non-public) tendering and contracting process; a collaborative route through purchasing consortia; or direct negotiations with strategic partners.

For areas of our supply chain where we believe there is a significant risk of modern slavery, our tendering and contracting process allows us to identify those risks. For example, due diligence questions are included 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 (LUPC) which works with vendors in supply chains with higher risks for human rights violations, such as ICT and office supplies, to encourage more suppliers to commit to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code. The LUPC also periodically reports on specific areas of the supply chain relevant to the Crick.

To mitigate the risk posed to third party service contracts, we ensure that all service partners commit to paying the London Living Wage to all staff working at the Crick, with the exception of apprentices.  

Our sourcing policy stipulates a list of duties for Crick staff to comply with when undertaking procurement activities.  This includes considering the potential for modern slavery risks within individual purchases.

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 by a robust supplier relationship management (SRM) process and a nominated champion from the sourcing team to lead on improvements to the procurement process.

Our new e-Sourcing platform, due to go live by December 2022, will augment and automate our SRM to ensure that, where appropriate, modern slavery risks are monitored as part of our business as usual approach with key suppliers across all categories which are deemed to carry an inherent material modern slavery risk.

Members of the sourcing and legal teams will complete the London University Purchasing Consortium’s e-learning titled Protecting Human Rights in the Supply Chain by the end of 2022. We aim to develop wider awareness across the Crick and will take steps to ensure that other buyers within the institute have the required knowledge to be able to influence decision making throughout the purchasing cycle.

A responsible sourcing policy is currently being redeveloped and will be published on our intranet by the end of 2022 covering modern slavery risks alongside some meaningful targets. This will form part of our supplier tender pack on the e-Sourcing platform together with a Supplier Code of Conduct.

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