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MRC Modern Slavery & Trafficking statement for April 2016 - March 2017

The MRC improves the health of people in the UK - and around the world - by supporting excellent science, and training the very best scientists. We are a non-departmental public body funded through the government’s science and research budget.

Our work ranges from laboratory research, for example on genes and molecules, right through to research with people, such as clinical trials and population studies. Our research is carried out in universities, hospitals and a network of dedicated establishments across the UK and Africa.

We are supported mainly by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

MRC is committed to the principles of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the abolition of modern slavery and human trafficking. As an equal-opportunities employer, the MRC is committed to creating and ensuring a non-discriminatory and respectful working environment for its staff. The MRC’s Recruitment and Selection policy ensures, as far as possible, that the best people are recruited on merit and that the recruitment process is free from bias and discrimination. This policy also enables the MRC to uphold its commitment to equalities and diversity by outlining a fair and consistent approach for recruitment and selection practices.

MRC maintains the following policies which are accessible to all staff via the MRC intranet:

  • MRC Code of Conduct - covers MRC Units, Institutes and Centres
    • UK SBS hold the harmonised Code of Conduct policy which covers MRC Head Office.
  • MRC Whistleblowing policy
  • MRC Bully and Harassment policy  
  • Recruitment and Selection policy

MRC’s procurement for goods and services is provided by our shared services provider, UK SBS. Our supply chain is extensive and we procure goods and services from a wide range of UK and overseas suppliers. UK SBS has published their statement on Slavery & Human Trafficking which includes their mechanisms for guarding against modern slavery in their client’s supply chains.

Over the past 12 months, MRC has undertaken the following activities:

  • Procurement of an eLearning package which will be rolled out to staff during 2017/18.
  • Begun working with the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and UK SBS to ensure that modern slavery risks are captured in UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) policies and procedures from UKRI’s inception in 2018. These include grant terms and conditions.
  • Created a cross-Research Council working group to identify and manage any key areas of risk not covered by those processes managed by UK SBS.

Over the next 12 months, MRC will undertake the following activities:

  • Work with Research Councils UK (RCUK) to update existing RCUK grant terms and conditions ahead of the inception of UKRI.
  • Roll out of the eLearning package for all MRC staff.
  • Continue to engage with the programme establishing UK Research and Innovation to ensure Modern Slavery is captured in policies and procedures.
  • Ensure that consideration of the modern slavery risks and prevention are added to MRC’s policy review process.
  • Include the Modern Slavery Act 2015 into our Whistleblowing Policy. 
  • Ensure MRC and UK SBS procurement strategies include references to modern slavery and human trafficking. 

The key performance indicators being used by MRC for 2017-18 are:

  • Number of reports received from employees, the public, or law enforcement agencies to indicate that modern slavery practices have been identified.
  • Percentage of employees that have completed the eLearning package.

This statement has been approved by the Chief Executive and by MRC Directors' Management Board.

Tony Peatfield, Director of Corporate Affairs.