Anti-slavery statement

IQSA Group Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement 2019/20

The Modern Slavery Act (2015) introduced new rules regarding transparency in supply chains. The Act seeks to address the role of businesses in protecting human rights and preventing modern slavery from occurring in their supply chain.

This statement sets out the steps taken by iQSA Group to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains.

Introduction

iQ Student Accommodation is the second largest provider of student accommodation in the UK. It has 28,000 bed spaces under management in 70 locations across the UK with a further 257 beds scheduled to open in September 2019.

The Group has an annual turnover in excess of £220m and, in addition to letting to students directly, works in conjunction with some of the UK’s leading universities for the provision of accommodation directly to their students under a process of nomination or lease. The Group also owns a hotel.

The Group was formed in February 2016 by the merger of the iQ Student Accommodation and Prodigy Living businesses, initially as Vero Group but from 1st January 2017, as iQ Student Accommodation.

Policies and Contractual Controls

The Group’s Modern Slavery Policy was introduced in March 2017 and has been reviewed annually. The policy supports our Code of Ethics where we confirm we will not tolerate or condone abuse of human rights within any part of our business or supply chain. The Group has a confidential helpline in support of its Whistleblowing policy where members of staff can raise concerns over any wrongdoing which extends to human rights violations and modern slavery. Reports are treated in confidence and are always fully investigated at executive level.

The policy is supported by an e-learning training module which provides staff with information about Modern Slavery and how to spot the signs as well as providing advice on what they should do if they have concerns.

Assessment of Risk in the Supply Chain.

Our Procurement Department has identified the following categories of supplier where we believe there is a greater risk of modern slavery. These types of business tend to pay lower wages and rely on labour from outside the country to undertake their business.

  • Cleaning
  • Security
  • Sub-contractors for construction activities
  • Grounds Maintenance services
  • Overseas companies supplying outsourced business processing services

Steps the Group has taken to prevent Modern Slavery in our supply chain

The Group has reviewed its supplier onboarding procedures and included questions about Modern Slavery as part of the suite of checks undertaken for new suppliers. Our terms of trading include clauses concerning supplier conduct in this area and all new major contracts include clauses around the prevention of modern slavery.

The Group has reviewed its approach to summer cleaning and has consolidated our contracts with a small number of highly reputable organisations that subscribe to the same modern slavery principles as the Group

Our security contracts were tendered in 2017 and as part of this process clauses were included concerning pay levels for staff employed on iQ premises.

A detailed review of its principal overseas outsourced contract has been undertaken by the Group and we are satisfied that our supplier meets the required standards. Key iQ personnel regularly visit their overseas business premises and our relationship with the company will be looked at by our Internal Audit department within the next 2 years

Further steps to prevent Modern Slavery in our supply chain

During the next 12 months the Group will continue to focus its attention on its historic supplier base and will conduct spot checks on suppliers, particularly those in category areas considered to be greater risk. These checks will examine the following:

  • Staff members have a passport and a right to work in the UK and that the passports are not retained by the employer
  • Staff have a National Insurance number
  • Staff are paid at least national minimum wage or national living wage as applicable.

We will also introduce our new trading terms to our existing suppliers.

It is the intention that our procurement department will produce a short guide to iQ’s approach to Modern Slavery which will be given to all new suppliers and rolled back to the existing supply chain

The Group will be retendering its grounds maintenance contracts in 2019.

The Group’s newly established Internal Audit function will be asked to include the issue of Modern Slavery within its audit universe.

Further Information

Further information concerning the Groups approach to Modern Slavery can be obtained by contacting our Compliance Director - [email protected]

 

Rob Roger

Chief Executive Officer