Modern Slavery Statement 2020
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 2020.
Knights is opposed to any form of forced or bonded labour, including modern slavery or human trafficking and is committed to conducting its business ethically and responsibly. In an increasingly global marketplace, we recognise that all businesses have a responsibility to understand whether modern slavery and human trafficking is taking place within their supply chains or in any part of their business.
As a leading professional services business, Knights always works to the highest professional standards and complies with all laws, regulations and rules relevant to our organisation. We expect the same from our suppliers and business partners.
Knights Group Holdings plc is listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), and registered in England and Wales. We have sixteen offices in the UK, located in Birmingham, Cheltenham, Chester, Crawley, Exeter, Leeds, Leicester, Maidstone, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Stoke, Weybridge, Wilmslow and York.
We provide a full range of legal services to individual and corporate clients from many sectors, including real estate, financial services and retail and predominantly employ professionally qualified and highly skilled people. The business is supported by several support functions such as Marketing, Finance, HR, IT, Facilities, Office Services and Compliance.
Knights’ supply chain includes services procured to enable the provision of legal services, such as catering and cleaning services, office design, facilities management, fit-out and maintenance services, some outsourced business process services, recruitment and employment agencies and the purchase 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. The vast majority of our supply chain is located within the UK and comprises a wide range of suppliers, from small and medium enterprises to global corporates.
We are committed to ensuring Knights is not supplied by anyone who engages in human trafficking or modern slavery and have a range of policies which underlines this commitment:
Anti-Slavery Policy: our staff are required to adhere to our Anti-Slavery Policy, which is made available on our intranet. Our suppliers are also expected to adhere to the standards set out in our Anti-Slavery Policy and we work with them to raise awareness and maintain compliance with the Act.
Equality and Diversity Policy: this emphasises Knights’ commitment to promoting equality and diversity by seeking to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly with dignity and respect, recognising and encouraging individual contribution within our organisation. Knights does 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 members of staff are also required to undertake equality and diversity training.
Whistleblowing Policy: if our employees 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 in confidence without fear of disciplinary action.
Knights’ working practices respect and uphold human rights for our partners, employees, contractors and all those that work with or for Knights. Our modern slavery strategy is developed by a working group made up of members of the HR, Compliance and Facilities teams.
During 2020, we have continued to make progress in assessing our activities. We have taken the following steps over the last 12 months to identify and mitigate any potential risks of modern slavery or human trafficking within our business and our supply chain:
Our key suppliers have been provided with our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct and we shall continue with phase 2 of our supplier review to assess the remainder of our supply chain, including those we inherit from any law firms that we acquire. Several of our key suppliers are large corporates with their own modern slavery compliance obligations but those in phase 2, considered to be higher risk by virtue of their location, activities and the sector in which they operate, will be prioritised for review.
To minimise potential modern slavery risks, we are continuing to reduce the number of smaller suppliers we use So far, we have decreased our overall supplier numbers by 13% and we shall seek to reduce this further, in particular where we inherit suppliers from our acquisitions..
We continue to assess any new supplier relationships to ensure their suitability as business partners to Knights. As part of this process, we have introduced a suppliers due diligence questionnaire which all new suppliers are required to complete as part of Knights’ on-boarding process.
We have implemented modern slavery contractual terms with all new suppliers, as well as on renewal of any existing supplier contracts, and will continue to do so for further new suppliers and renewals. Our standard contractual terms contain a right to audit our suppliers.
We have conducted a full review of all of the firm’s policies, and have created additional policies which govern our procurement practices. Training of those members of staff responsible for the procurement of goods and services or the management of suppliers in modern slavery risks has been rolled out on our online training platform.
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