Modern Slavery Statement 2023
This statement is made pursuant to Section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the Act) and sets out the steps Knights Group Holdings plc and its subsidiary, Knights Professional Services Limited (Knights or we), are taking to assess and mitigate any risk of slavery and human trafficking in its businesses for the financial year ending 30 April 2023.
We take our obligations in relation to the identification, reporting and prevention of modern slavery and human trafficking seriously and we are committed to conducting our business to the highest standards of professionalism, ethical behaviour, and integrity. In an increasingly global marketplace, we believe that businesses have a responsibility to understand whether modern slavery and human trafficking is taking place within its supply chains or in any part of its business, and we expect our suppliers and business partners to comply with the same high standards that we do.
Knights Group Holdings plc is listed on the Alternative Investment Market and registered in England and Wales. We are a professional services business with more than 23 offices throughout the UK, and we are continually expanding into new regional markets.
Knights Group Holdings plc’s subsidiary, Knights Professional Services Limited, provides a full range of legal and professional services to individual and corporate clients across many sectors. We predominantly employ highly skilled professionals who are strictly regulated by professional regulatory bodies, and our ongoing assessment is that there is a low risk of slavery or human trafficking occurring within our own business. The business is supported by centralised operational functions, namely Marketing, Finance, HR, IT, Facilities, Office Services, Data Management and Legal and Compliance.
We are a collaborative team-based business which is meritocratic and has a strong, diverse and inclusive culture. By listening to our people, we continually evolve how we look after the health and wellbeing of our employees and support their careers. During the year, we conducted a full salary review and introduced our Knights Retail Benefits scheme, which provides discounts to employees to help offset increased costs of living. We provide access to a dedicated wellbeing platform and our employee satisfaction surveys consistently result in a good employee net promoter score. We have also developed our employee value proposition recognising that as a fast-growing and maturing business, it is important that we articulate our commitment and promise to employees in a way which is aligned to our vision and principles.
Alongside our trainee solicitor programme, we operate an apprenticeship programme which is key to attracting and developing new talent throughout our business. We also provide ongoing training and other opportunities to all our staff to allow them to develop their careers, achieve their ambitions, and enhance their future earning potential.
Our supply chain includes the procurement of products and services to support the provision of professional services, such as cleaning services, office design and fit-out, facilities management, maintenance services, some outsourced business process services, real estate, recruitment and employment agencies and the purchase or licensing of goods, including office furniture, supplies and IT software and equipment.
We also work with other professional service providers such as barristers, medical experts, financial advisors, court services and enforcement, tracing agents, surveyors, planning and environmental consultants, insurance companies and brokers.
Most of our supply chain is located within the UK, with many of our suppliers being large companies with operations in the UK who are required to adhere to their own modern slavery compliance obligations. We are committed to maintaining responsible relationships with our suppliers and partners, who may, at our request, be required to provide evidence of compliance with our policies, procedures, and applicable laws during a tendering and retendering process and throughout the lifecycle of our contracts with them.
We are committed to ensuring none of our suppliers engage in human trafficking or modern slavery and have a range of policies which underpin this commitment:
Anti-slavery: our employees are required to adhere to our anti-slavery policy, which is available to everyone. Our suppliers are also expected to adhere to the standards set out in our supplier code of conduct which requires compliance with our anti-slavery policy. Wherever necessary, we work with our suppliers to raise awareness and maintain compliance with the Act.
Equality and diversity: as an inclusive employer, this policy emphasises our commitment to promoting equality and diversity by seeking to ensure that everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect, recognising, and encouraging individual contribution within our business.
We do not discriminate against employees, applicants for employment, other workers, clients or service providers on the basis of race or racial group, nationality, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, religion or belief, age or disability. Senior employees are also required to undertake equality and diversity training.
Whistleblowing: if any of our people have any concerns about our suppliers or their supply chains or about any other wrongdoing or breaches of law, they are encouraged to raise these concerns to their manager, or in confidence using our whistleblowing process without fear of any detrimental treatment.
We have conducted a comprehensive review of all our suppliers to ensure all agreements and any potential modern slavery risks those relationships may pose are managed centrally. All new suppliers and those seeking to renew existing contracts are required to complete our supplier on-boarding process and confirm compliance with our supplier code of conduct.
We continue to assess supplier relationships we inherit through acquisitions we make, and select those with which we wish to continue to work with. We terminate those contracts which duplicate services already provided by our existing suppliers, and we continue to streamline our supply chain, further reducing the risk of modern slavery within it.
Contractual terms prohibiting modern slavery are implemented on a risk-based approach for all new suppliers, and on renewal of any existing supplier contracts. We also include a right to audit our suppliers where appropriate.
Our working practices encourage respect and the upholding of human rights for everyone who works with or within our business. We have taken the following steps over the last 12 months to identify and mitigate potential risks of modern slavery or human trafficking within our business and our supply chain:
We continued to assess the modern slavery risk posed to our business and made changes to our strategy where appropriate.
Through the consolidation of our previous contracts, we have outsourced our facilities management to a single external supplier, who is now responsible for all property and facilities services across all our offices, including maintenance, cleaning, security, helpdesk, reactive fabric work, vending, washroom facilities and emergency systems. Our contractors are now therefore managed by a single supplier who is required to comply with our policies, including the anti-slavery policy and ensure compliance by all sub-contractors.
We have also consolidated printer contracts into one supplier and we are currently consolidating our arrangements in respect of our storage and archiving requirements, again reducing the risk of modern slavery within our supply chain.
We undertake an annual review of all our policies, including those mentioned above, and we have introduced additional internal processes to simplify our procurement practices. For example, the use of recruitment agencies is reduced by our internal recruitment team sourcing candidates directly, and those agencies we do work with are part of a preferred supplier list.
We continue to provide mandatory training annually for all our people on modern slavery risks, and course completion is monitored on our online training platform and by our training team.
This statement has been approved by the Board of Knights Group Holdings plc and its subsidiary and is signed on their behalf by:
Chief Executive Officer