Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

Introduction

Connect Group PLC (“Connect Group”) is committed to preventing acts of modern slavery and human trafficking from occurring within each business within the Group and their respective supply chains, and seeks to impose those same high standards on its suppliers.  We take a zero-tolerance approach to non-ethical practices and we are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and supply chain relationships, wherever we operate, implementing and enforcing effective systems to uphold ethical standards and to combat modern

Connect Group’s Role in the Supply Chain

Connect Group is a leading specialist distributor operating in complex and fragmented markets, primarily in the United Kingdom but with increasing prominence internationally. The Group’s networks are focused on serving high drop density early morning deliveries, and the demands of mixed and irregular sized freight.

The Group’s core businesses are each leading players in their markets:

Early Distribution

Smiths News is the UK's largest newspaper and magazine wholesaling business with an approximate 55 per cent. market share. It distributes newspapers and magazines on behalf of the major national and regional publishers, delivering to approximately 27,000 customers across   England and Wales on a daily basis. The speed of turnaround and density of Smiths News’ coverage is critical to one of the world’s fastest physical supply chains.

Pass My Parcel is a wholly owned Click & Collect service which leverages our combined networks to provide efficient solutions for online and high street retailers. Its network of parcelshops provides national consumer reach for deliveries and returns. Bespoke services for larger clients, serving their early morning and in-store requirements are a recent development in this rapidly evolving sector.

Dawson Media Direct supplies newspapers, magazines and inflight entertainment technology and content to over 80 airlines in 50 countries. Delivering to strict time windows with security accreditation, DMD serves the specialist needs of airlines and travel points in the UK and worldwide with printed and digital media.

Mixed Freight

Tuffnells is a leading distributor of mixed and irregular freight, serving approximately 5,000 small and medium sized enterprises across the UK. Its network of 37 depots collects and delivers mixed parcel freight consignments, specialising in items of irregular dimension and weight ("IDW"), examples of which include bulky items, building materials and automotive parts. With a mix of local and national clients, Tuffnells completes up to 70,000 daily deliveries, offering a range of timed services that are responsive to customer demand.

Connect Group employs over 5,500 people worldwide and has business operations in 10 countries, principally through its international media business, Dawson Media Direct Limited.

Connect Group has a global annual turnover of c£1.6bn. To find out more about the nature of our business, please see www.connectgroupplc.com.

Policies

As part of our commitment to combating modern slavery, we have the following policies within our organisation:

  • Ethical Trading Policy;
  • One Team Policy;
  • Right to Work Recruitment Guide;
  • Anti-Bribery Policy;
  • Anti-Fraud Policy;
  • Whistleblowing Policy; and
  • Agency Workers Regulations Policy.

We also make sure that our suppliers are aware of our key policies and Code of Business Conduct, and encourage them to adhere to the same high standards. These policies have been developed and adopted by Connect Group in order to ensure that we conduct all business in an honest and ethical manner.

Risk and Compliance

Connect Group periodically evaluates and reviews the nature and extent of its exposure to the risk of modern slavery occurring in its supply chains by means of a risk assessment exercise conducted by senior management and its Executive Leadership Team and Board. 

Given the nature of the Group’s services (essentially, providing distribution and logistics services to its customers and suppliers, rather than as a stock-holding company or with large volumes of inventory originating overseas), we do not consider that the Group operates in high risk sectors or locations.  That said, we are alive to the potential risk of modern slavery arising in the manual handling and heavy logistics of our Mixed Freight and Early Morning distribution businesses.  Accordingly, before we commence dealing with (i) a new supplier, we look to audit their practices, policies and procedures with an increasing focus on the suppliers’ ethical trading standards and (ii) with a delivery contractor or employee, we look to audit their right to work in the United Kingdom, ensuring that such labour is not forced and that pay is made direct to the recipient’s bank account. 

Due Diligence

As part of Connect Group’s efforts to monitor and reduce the risk of slavery and human trafficking occurring within our supply chains, we have established the following procedures and protocols in order to combat any modern slavery risk and have sought to put in place measures as appropriate to reduce this risk and provide adequate protection for whistle-blowers:

  • where we source products from overseas we will periodically undertake supplier audits, whether conducted internally or through external agencies, together with checking supplier references with external third parties;
  • we seek to ensure that all our suppliers adhere to our ethical standards and anti-slavery policies and provide a copy of our Ethical Trading Policy to each supplier;
  • we expect to introduce contractual protections in our dealings with suppliers to reinforce our ethical standards and anti-slavery policies; 
  • we enforce a strict code of compliance and do not tolerate slavery or human trafficking within our supply chains – if we find evidence of a failure to comply with our policies we will seek to terminate our relationship with the relevant supplier; and
  • in particular, we have reviewed, amongst others, our relationships with both recruitment agencies for the supply of permanent and temporary resource and our relationships with independent service providers (ISPs) who provide composite delivery services across the Group and we will continue to look to audit the capability of these agencies and the ISPs against our key policies and Code of Business Conduct, together with checking references, in order to combat any modern slavery risk and promote compliance with an individual’s right to work in the relevant jurisdiction.

Training

Where appropriate, we look to educate our staff to recognise the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking in our business and supply chains. Through such education programmes and ad hoc monitoring of suppliers, employees are encouraged to identify and report any potential breaches of this anti-slavery and human trafficking policy (or any other Group policy). 

We are pleased that our employees understand the benefits of stringent measures to tackle slavery and human trafficking, as well as the consequences of failing to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from our business and supply chains.

Concluding Remarks

This statement has been approved by the Connect Group PLC Board of Directors and is made in accordance with Section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes Connect Group's modern slavery and human trafficking statement for the 2017 financial year (1 Sept. 2016 – 31 Aug. 2017).

 

Gary Kennedy
Chairman
February 2018

 

Archived versions of this statement:

Modern Slavery Statement - June 2017 - Archived

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