Our Modern Slavery Transparency Statement 2017-18

This statement sets out the steps we have taken during the last financial year to ensure that Modern Slavery is not taking place in any of our supply chains or any part of our business. It is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA). The Statement also sets out our commitments for the next twelve months with regards to the legislation.

Post Office Limited (Post Office) & Post Office Management Services Limited (POMS)
Modern Slavery Transparency Statement 2017-18

Our business

Post Office is the UK’s largest retail network and the largest financial services chain in the UK with more branches than all of the UK’s banks and building societies put together. We have provided services for more than 370 years and currently supply more than 170 products and services (mails & retail; financial services; governments services; and telephony) from a Network of more than 11,500 Post Office branches nationwide.

Post Office directly manages around 2% of the Network branches. The remainder of the branches are managed on an agency basis by Postmasters and multiple partners. 

Our supply chains

We currently operate throughout the UK, however our supply chains connect with suppliers with a global reach.

Banking services

Our banking services are provided through a joint venture with the Bank of Ireland (BoI).

Postmasters

Postmasters can operate one or more branches. As agents they have control on how they run their branches on a day-to-day basis. All those working in an agency Post Office branch are employees of the Postmaster.

Multiple partners

A large proportion of the agency part of our network is run by multiple partners.

Trade Unions

In our directly managed branch network, we work closely with the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and Unite (CMA) Communications Managers Association.

Third Party Suppliers/Procurement

We also procure products and services from a wide range of national and international businesses.

Responsibility and due diligence

Responsibility for our Modern Slavery initiatives currently resides with a steering group which was appointed in January 2016. It is tasked with the development of a project plan to carry out due diligence and implement change. 

Where are the risks of Modern Slavery at Post Office/POMS?

The due diligence that we have undertaken so far indicates that there could be a risk of non-compliance within our agency network because there are a large number of people employed by Postmasters (including multiple partners) but who are not employees of Post Office or POMS. They work directly for the Postmasters (including multiple partners). We will be taking action to address this risk (see below).

What we have done so far

  • Our Whistleblowing Policy has been updated to include references to concerns about Modern Slavery.
  • Our Code of Business Standards will reference the issue of Modern Slavery.
  • We have adapted the Post Office recruitment policy to address MSA requirements.
  • We conducted an assessment of the Post Office procurement process to ensure it aligns with the MSA.  As part of this process we have conducted a review of the criteria used by Post Office to evaluate whether suppliers meet Post Office’s minimum tendering requirements. As a result of this we have now reviewed our standard form procurement contracts to ensure that they cover POL with regards to the MSA legislation.
  • Our PQQ process has also been amended to take account of MSA. Suppliers must now confirm that they comply with our MSA Statement.
  • We have reviewed the Postmaster Contract of Engagement and have written Guidelines for Postmasters to assist them in complying with MSA legislation.  

Next steps

Throughout 2017 we will be committed to a programme of ‘Building Awareness’. This includes:

  • Rolling out our MSA Communication Plan across all of POL, including our directly employed colleagues, postmasters and supply chain.
  • Reviewing our approach to audit and compliance and make recommendations around a suitable regime to take forward.
  • In the light of the recommendations from the review of audit and compliance, to develop a relevant Training Plan in support of any proposed new regime.

Our policies

We currently operate the following policies that describe our approach to Modern Slavery:

  • Code of Business Standards
  • Whistleblowing Policy

Further information

If you have any concerns about the issues raised in this statement or if you think you have identified signs of Modern Slavery then please either contact us in the first instance or call the Government’s Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.