Modern Slavery Statement 2021
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 2021.
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 18 offices in the UK, located in Birmingham, Cheltenham, Chester, Crawley, Exeter, Leeds Majestic, Leeds Wellington Place, Leicester, Maidstone, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Stoke, Teesside, Weybridge, Wilmslow and York.
Knights Group Holdings plc’s subsidiary, Knights Professional Services Limited provides 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 centralised operational functions namely Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, IT, Facilities, Office Services, Legal, Compliance and Data Management.
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 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 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. 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:
We continued to assess the modern slavery risk posed to our business in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and made changes to our strategy where appropriate. The vast majority of our key suppliers are large corporates based in the UK with their own modern slavery compliance obligations.
We 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.
We have embedded our supplier due diligence programme into our business practices and all our new suppliers are required to complete this on-boarding process and confirm they will adhere to our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct.
Suppliers inherited from law firms acquired by Knights are assessed to identify those with which we wish to continue conducting business. We terminate those which duplicate services already provided by our existing suppliers and will continue to streamline our supply chain, further reducing the risk of modern slavery within it.
Significant work has been undertaken to reduce our facilities supply chain in particular and we have agreed new national contracts rather than relying on suppliers based locally to each office. Both of our key suppliers in this area have their own modern slavery policies and procedures and are well placed to drive our modern slavery objectives.
Our HR function has implemented a new software platform which provides detailed oversight of all HR tasks and processes and streamlines the due diligence process for all members of staff, whether permanent or temporary.
In addition, modern slavery contractual terms are implemented on a risk based approach with all new suppliers, as well as on renewal of any existing supplier contracts. Our standard contractual terms contain a right to audit our suppliers.
There is an annual review of all of the firm’s policies, including those mentioned above, and we have introduced additional internal processes to simplify 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 continues to be provided and course completion is monitored 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