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MSF UK's modern slavery statement

Entrance of MSF hospital in Nduta refugee camp, Tanzania Caption
Entrance of MSF hospital in Nduta refugee camp, Tanzania

Médecins Sans Frontières UK (“MSF UK”) has produced this statement in accordance with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

This statement sets out the steps that MSF UK has taken to ensure that its business and supply chains are free from modern slavery, in relation to the financial year starting on 1 January 2022 and ending on 31 December 2022.

Our organisation

MSF UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee of its members and governed by its Articles of Association. MSF UK is part of an international movement of independent legal entities, commonly referred to as MSF, which are bound by their shared name and identity, and a shared commitment to the MSF Charter and principles.

MSF provides life-saving care in over 70 countries around the world. Each MSF office, including the UK, plays a part in providing the resources and budget to maintain projects in many of these countries and ensure we are working where we are needed most.

MSF UK raises money, increases public awareness, provides strategic and technical expertise to support MSF’s field work, and recruits staff on behalf of the MSF movement. We provide staff and financial grants to MSF’s overseas Operational Centres, which are responsible for carrying out our medical humanitarian work.

During 2022, MSF UK did not directly manage humanitarian operational projects  : those operations are run by our Operational Centres.

Our values

MSF UK adheres to clear behavioural values, including respect and non-discrimination, as set out in the MSF Behavioural Commitments and the MSF Charter. MSF UK has a zero-tolerance approach to slavery and human trafficking in any form. MSF UK takes its obligations seriously and is committed to preventing acts of modern slavery and human trafficking from occurring within its business and supply chains.

We hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards and expect the same of our employees, volunteers, consultants, partners and suppliers.

Our supply chains

To support our UK operations, fundraising and public awareness work, MSF UK procures a range of goods and services, including in relation to: marketing, media, research, facilities, HR services, IT and office premises. We do not have any significant UK spend in the vulnerable sectors of agriculture, construction, hospitality or manufacturing.

MSF operations in the field are run by MSF’s overseas Operational Centres.

To date we have not seen evidence of modern slavery in our organisation or supply chain. However, modern slavery is often a hidden crime, and MSF UK is committed to continuing to focus on understanding our risk exposure and putting in place measures to mitigate risk. During 2022, we have been reviewing our procurement practices to strengthen the procedures we have in place to ensure that the risk of modern slavery within our supply chain is considered systematically.

Our approach in the UK

MSF UK has in place the following policies and procedures, which form part of our approach to mitigate the risk of modern slavery within our business and direct UK supply chains:

  1. Code of Conduct
  2. Anti-corruption and bribery policy
  3. Anti-harassment and bullying policy and procedure
  4. Complaints procedure
  5. Equality and diversity policy
  6. Grievance policy and procedure
  7. Recruitment, selection, vetting and onboarding procedure
  8. Safeguarding policy and procedure
  9. Whistleblowing policy and procedure

During 2022, we have strengthened the framework governing our ethics and integrity by implementing a Standards and Accountability Policy Statement. All MSF UK policies must conform to the principles set out in this policy, including that colleagues and others are treated with dignity and respect. We have also implemented a new Code of Conduct which expands on our previous Code of Conduct’s position on behaviour constituting misconduct including behaviours which may be exhibited in instances of Modern Slavery, such as exploitation, harassment, abuse of power and discrimination.

MSF UK is governed by a Board of Trustees, who are responsible for ensuring that MSF UK adheres to MSF’s core principles and values, and that it conducts its business in an effective and efficient manner, with due care, accountability, responsible management of resources, and in compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements.

MSF UK staff receive training on the importance of speaking up in accordance with our various whistleblowing, complaints, and other policies, and MSF UK is committed to promoting an open and transparent environment in which staff feel empowered to raise concerns.

During 2022, MSF UK continued to invest in training to promote awareness amongst MSF UK staff of the policies and procedures available to them should they wish to raise concerns.

MSF UK is committed to ensuring that our suppliers and any of their employees, agents or sub-contractors operate within the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and to notify MSF as soon as they become aware of any breach or potential breach. MSF UK’s template master services agreement contains designated clauses addressing suppliers’ obligations with regards to modern slavery.

Where appropriate we will work with suppliers and partners to address any issue that arises, always bearing in mind the protection of individuals who may have been harmed due to modern slavery.

Our approach within the international MSF Movement

MSF UK recognises that there is an increased risk of modern slavery within the countries in which the MSF movement provides humanitarian aid.

MSF operations in the field are run by MSF’s overseas Operational Centres. All MSF entities, including our Operational Centres, are bound by a shared commitment to the MSF Charter and principles. MSF UK has agreements in place with each Operational Centre to whom it provides staff or financial grants, to ensure an appropriate exchange of information between entities. We have also enhanced our Grant Agreements in 2022 with a formal Grant Giving Policy to document the principles and decision-making process that MSF UK Trustees apply in making the decision to award a grant as well as the accountability and reporting arrangements.

This statement was approved by the MSF UK Board of Trustees on 28 April 2023.

Nicola McLean
Chair of the Board of Trustees