Modern slavery and human trafficking statement

Measures to combat modern slavery and human trafficking from our supply chain

Does slavery exist in the UK? It is certainly prevalent although not as widespread as in some other parts of the world. The UK Home Office estimates that between 10,000 and 13,000 people in the UK may be working in slavery-like conditions. In our global economy, the UK supply chain may also impact on the lives and conditions of those across the work. This is what prompted the UK Government to enact the Modern Slavery Act in 2015 to eliminate these practices at home and overseas.

As part of this Act, all companies with a turnover of £36 million or higher will produce an annual Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement. Here, at the University of Bristol, we fully support the aim of the Modern Slavery Act and will do all we can to make sure that our supply chains are free from this practice.

Modern slavery and human trafficking statement 2023


This Modern Slavery Statement outlines our commitment to being an ethically and socially responsible organisation.

We support and respect the principles proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are committed to improving our business practices to combat slavery and human trafficking, both domestically and internationally, to make sure that we are not complicit in any human rights violations.

We are committed to making sure that all employees, not just those engaged directly by us, are treated with respect and dignity; that they are working under their own free will, that they have freedom to associate and their right of collective bargaining is respected, that working conditions are safe and hygienic, that regular employment is provided and working hours are not excessive and that individuals are properly compensated for their effort.

We value the principles set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and we believe that there is no place for child exploitation in the supply chain. We are committed to zero tolerance of slavery and human trafficking or child labour practices.

Our Structure 

We are a provider of Higher Education and research and are an exempt charity under the terms of Charities Act 2006 and incorporated by Royal Charter (company number RC000648). We have an annual turnover in excess of the statutory threshold.

We are dedicated to academic achievement across a broad range of disciplines. We are made up of 30 academic schools, organised into three faculties: Arts, Law and Social Sciences; Health and Life Sciences; and Science and Engineering. We have over 20,000 undergraduates and over 7,000 postgraduate students from more than 100 countries.

We are a major force in the economic, social and cultural life of Bristol and the South West region. We work hard to build effective links with the community and its industries, through high-quality research collaboration and productive knowledge exchange, the creation and support of new companies and enterprises, and the licensing of intellectual property.

Our policies, priorities and vision

We are committed to making sure that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in our supply chains or in any part of the University’s business. We have developed policies and continue to develop them to reflect our commitment to acting sustainably, ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships. We are working to develop, implement and enforce effective systems, processes and controls to make sure child labour, slavery and human trafficking is not taking place within in our supply chains.

We expect our suppliers to respect and treat employees in a morally and ethically appropriate manner. Our suppliers are required to demonstrate a commitment to making sure that their own supply chain is free from child labour, forced labour modern slavery and human trafficking.

The University of Bristol supply chain

Our supply chain includes the purchase of goods, services and works necessary for the operation of the University and includes but is not limited to teaching and research, professional services, student recruitment services, student accommodation services, catering services, cleaning services, security services, workwear, IT and audio visual equipment, laboratory equipment and consumables, medical and veterinary equipment and consumables, furniture, stationery consumables, printing, travel, utilities, construction and facilities maintenance services.

Our supply chain is varied and includes individuals, SME’s and multi-national corporations. We recognise that modern slavery and human trafficking can occur anywhere in its supply chain both in the UK and internationally and regardless of the supplier size or nature of the products or services being purchased.

We are working to identify and mitigate the risk of modern slavery in our supply chain. This includes but is not limited to:

Due diligence processes for slavery and human trafficking

Since the publication of the University’s last Modern Slavery Statement, the University has continued to promote Social Value and supply chain transparency. In addition to publishing our own Modern Slavery Statement, the University interrogates Statements from our suppliers. This improves our ability to hold suppliers to account for the depth and compliance of their supply chain management.

The University is aware of issues that may complicate knowledge and confidence in the supply chain, including economic and geopolitical changes, which has required the University to seek alternative sources of supplies and equipment in some cases, and required us to ensure the confidence of new supply chain relationships.

We will continue to build upon our existing systems to:


To make sure there is a high level of understanding of the modern slavery and human trafficking risks in the University’s supply chains we have developed new training material for staff, which was rolled out in 2022/23 via the University’s staff development portal (‘Develop’). This is addition to the existing, mandatory training on Fraud Prevention.

The University of Bristol’s effectiveness at combating slavery and human trafficking for the future

Over the course of 2023/24 we will develop the measures by which we judge how effective we have been in making sure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any part of our business or supply chains. This includes:

This statement is made pursuant to section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes the University of Bristol’s modern slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 31 July 2023. This statement has been approved by the University of Bristol’s Board of Trustees.

Signed by:
Professor Evelyn Welch
Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Bristol
16 November 2023

For further information contact the University Secretary's Office