Modern Slavery Statement 2019/20

Organisation structure and supply chains

This statement is made by Hermes Parcelnet Limited. It is a statement made in accordance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and covers the financial year from 1 March 2019 to 28 February 2020 The Statement also refers to activity we will be taking during our 2020/21 financial year.

Hermes is the UK’s leading consumer delivery specialist handling more than 400 million parcels each year. We have over 4,500 employees and operate a network of over 15,000 self-employed couriers, 31 parcel processing sites, 550 sub-depots and over 5,000 ParcelShops.

Hermes works with a wide range of leading high street, catalogue and online retailers in the UK.

We engage a range of third-party suppliers to provide goods, services and labour to us (our “Suppliers”). These Suppliers include suppliers of fleet vehicles, sortation equipment, mobile scanning hardware and software and cloud-based technology as well as warehouse workers via recruitment agencies.

We also engage self-employed individuals to provide courier services on our behalf such as our final mile couriers, those who operate ParcelShops and/or provide sub-depot operational services (collectively, our “Services Providers”).

We are committed to the sustainable development of our business in a way that reconciles economic success with the social wellbeing of individuals that are employed by us or are involved in the provision of services to us.

We understand that slavery, human trafficking, servitude and forced labour (“Modern Slavery”) is a global and increasing challenge for governments and business.

Policies and Contractual Terms on Slavery and Human Trafficking

We recognise our responsibility to be aware of the risks of modern slavery within our own organisation and supply chain.

In September 2016 we introduced our new Code of Conduct (“the Code”). A copy of the Code can be found by clicking on the relevant link found below this statement.

This acts as the cornerstone of our Social Compliance Model. The Code is based on ethical, moral and legal principles which provide a framework for all that we do. Our Suppliers and Services Providers can expect us to comply with the law, observe ethical standards and act as a fair business partner. In turn, we expect our Suppliers and Service Providers to apply the same standards. We make an unambiguous commitment in the Code to treat our service provider and suppliers with dignity and respect.

Part 1 of the Code sets out the principles that we expect our employees to comply with during their relationship and interactions with our Suppliers and Service Providers. Part 2 of the Code sets out the principles which we expect our Suppliers and Service Providers to comply with while they are engaged by us. We expect the standards set out in the Code to be passed on to the employees, workers and the suppliers of our Suppliers and Services Providers.

Both parts of the Code include specific provisions in relation to modern slavery. Specifically, we define what modern slavery means and make clear that it is prohibited in our operations and supply chain. Hermes and our employees will not engage in, facilitate or fail to report any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of our Code in this respect. Likewise, our Suppliers and Service Providers must not engage in, facilitate or fail to report any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of those principles.

The Code includes a complaints procedure under which alleged breaches of the Code can be raised and will then be investigated.

Due diligence processes

To seek to prevent slavery and trafficking in our business and supply chains we send a copy of our Code of Conduct to any company applying to work with Hermes through a formal tender process. Part 2 of the Code sets out the principles which we expect our Suppliers and Service Providers to comply with while they are engaged by us.

The Code of Conduct forms a part of the contract we have with Suppliers and, in signing a contract to work with Hermes, companies agree to comply with the Code.

We would eliminate from a tender process any company who does not share our values and who chooses not to sign up to the Code as part of a contract.

New third-party relationships are subject to specific questioning regarding compliance with the Modern Slavery Act and our Code of Conduct and we have modified our procurement procedures to address the risk of slavery and trafficking.

Training on modern slavery and trafficking

To ensure that our employees are aware of the challenge posed by modern slavery, how to spot the signs of modern slavery and what steps they should be taking to mitigate the risk of modern slavery within our organisation and supply chain, we have rolled out an online training package this year to all our employees, making it compulsory.

We moved our modern slavery training away from an external provider, bringing it in-house as part of our wider online employee training programme. Compliance with the training is 53% and we have identified issues for many employees based in operational roles in depots who do not use a computer as part of their role.

In the coming year we will look in more detail at targeting training at those employees in roles where they might need to identify modern slavery, or be in a position to do so, and provide alternative training options for those not in desk-based roles which do not have regular or any access to a computer. We will also work with the senior leadership team to address compliance issues.

Performance in 2019/20:

  • We brought the Code of Conduct audit process in house so we have greater oversight and control of the audits of our depots and sub depots. We moved away from using external auditors and embedded the process into an existing team which already carried out site visits. This allowed us to be more responsive to any concerns where standards were not being met, bring a site into compliance within a clear timeframe and arrange for return visits to check compliance.

  • An employee reported concerns of modern slavery in one of our sites among agency workers. We reported these concerns to the recruitment agency who, when alerted, interviewed all the workers and reported the concerns to the police and the GLAA. We provided statements and information to support the investigation.

    We also agreed processes with the agency to ensure more rigorous checks are carried out when they recruit people. These checks include highlighting if workers have the same contact telephone number and that non-English speaking workers have a better understanding of their employment rights.

    To add further emphasise posters were put up in our sites setting out what workers can expect in terms of rights when working in the UK. This covers, minimum wage, average monthly wages and being entitled to a pay slip. We are also carrying out spot checks and audits to look for any signs of modern slavery and check on the welfare of workers.

  • We sought to embed the Code of Conduct further into the business. This was achieved by seeking employees’ feedback on the Code at an internal event where the Director of Legal & Public Affairs spoke to the senior management leaders in small groups; asking what the Code means to them and the risks of modern slavery to the business.

    Following this feedback, we simplified the Code into an easy to read and understand summary. The Code summary was presented in a poster and leaflet which was shared with all staff and Service Providers, publicised throughout the business and backed by a personal message from the CEO.

  • As mentioned already, we moved our modern slavery training from an external provider onto an in-house, online platform managed by Hermes. This allowed employees to access all their training requirements in one personal portal and refer to the training resources on modern slavery at their convenience.
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  • We met with the Slave Free Alliance to discuss their work with businesses and how we could work with them to improve our modern slavery training and awareness.

During 2020/21 we plan to:

  • Become members of the Slave Free Alliance to demonstrate our ethical commitment to ending modern slavery. We will make use of their training resources to train Hermes employees on modern slavery awareness and victim identification.

  • Continue spot checks in our sites to check worker welfare and look for any signs of modern slavery.

  • Improve compliance with modern slavery training and assess whether the training should be a requirement for all staff, or whether it would be better to focus resources on those employees working in operational roles.

  • Due to changes in the structure of our operational model, our employees are now closer to the final mile network of self-employed service providers. These employees will be trained by the Slave Free Alliance to identify the signs of modern slavery and know what to do if they find them.

This Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement is hereby approved by the Board of Directors of Hermes Parcelnet Limited.

Martijn De Lange
09 September 2020

Modern Slavery Policy