The Acorn Group, consisting of Acorn Recruitment Ltd, Acorn Learning Solutions Ltd and Exxell Ltd, part of the French based Synergie group, is committed to zero tolerance against human trafficking and worker exploitation.

Acorn takes a proactive approach, outlined below, to ensure our own business and that of our supply chain is free of human trafficking and worker exploitation, Acorn also has a responsibility for ensuring compliance to these areas:

  • Acorn is a business partner of Stronger Together. Stronger Together is a multi-stakeholder initiative aiming to reduce modern slavery.
  • GLA Licence holder ACOR0003
  • Sedex member allows us and our clients to manage ethical and responsible practices in the supply chain
  • REC Member – professional body for UK recruitment businesses
  • REC Compliance test – completed every 2 years to retain membership
  • Supply chain partners including 2nd tier recruitment agencies, general office and IT suppliers and any service suppliers to support the running of our business must complete a self-declaration on their modern slavery approach and must agree for an independent audit by the Acorn Group Quality Manager. Our business will not support or deal with any business knowingly involved in exploitation or human trafficking.
  • ISO9001 accredited – independent audit ensuring compliance to our internal policies against the international standard for quality.
  • All staff working for the group must have adequate references and undertake an annual self-declaration outlining criminal convictions and undertake a ‘fit and proper’ test in line with GLA requirements.
  • Audits – remotely with the Compliance team monitoring 100% of workers placed on assignment checking:
    • Right to Work checks – workers must prove they are eligible to work in the UK
    • Bank Account – workers must have proof of own / joint bank account
    • Telephone numbers – workers must be contacted on their own telephone number
    • Email address – is applicable to the worker and no duplicates
    • Addresses – high number of workers are not living at the same address
    • NI # - workers must provide details of their national insurance number and no duplicates
    • Workers complete paperwork at authorized locations only and have 1-1 interviews and informed of the Stronger Together campaign
    • Unannounced branch audits to check all areas of recruitment and learning.
  • Dedicated confidential telephone number for workers to report concerns of exploitation/human trafficking
  • Systems to encourage the reporting of concerns and the protection of whistle blowers
  • Training - Acorn has delivered human trafficking and worker exploitation training sessions to raise awareness to all staff within both the recruitment and learning sectors. All new starters have formal induction which outlines our compliance requirements and minimum standards to be met to ensure we meet our zero tolerance approach on exploitation and human trafficking.
  • Awareness campaigns for exploitation and human trafficking – regular toolbox talks sent to all personnel, quarterly newsletters published and monthly reminders promoting our commitment to our zero tolerance approach. Worker interviews have also been conducted this year with plans to increase this in 2017.

Our policies on Preventing Hidden Labour Exploitation, Ethical Trading Policy, Supplier Policy, Compliance Policy, and Whistleblowing Policy support our approach outlined above.

We use several key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure how effective we have been to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any part of our business or supply chains, this is reported on an annual basis, and next report is due January 2018.

This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes our group's slavery and human trafficking statement for the current financial year.

Matt Southall, MD

December 2016