Elimination of modern slavery and human trafficking

RNLI statement on our efforts to support the elimination of modern slavery and human trafficking. This statement is for the financial year ending 31/12/2019.

The RNLI has zero-tolerance toward slavery and human trafficking and does not accept modern slavery in any form.  In our operations and supply chain, we work with partners and suppliers to ensure compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“the Act”)

The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea. We provide, on call, a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland. We also provide a seasonal lifeguard service in the UK and Channel Islands, an on-demand flood rescue service in the UK and have an International team who work with global leaders, public health organisations and at-risk communities in several countries. We have a mix of full-time staff based at our support and training centre in Poole, Dorset, and around the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as a large number of volunteers who are key to delivering our service. 

We are structured in relation to governing, delivering and supporting the operational search and rescue and drowning prevention services we provide. 

Governance structure and Departments:

RNLI Governors elect the Council. The Council appoint the Trustees and also advise and assist their work. The Trustees oversee and shape the work of the CEO and the Executive team. 

Lifesaving Operations is made up of our frontline operational teams, both staff and volunteers who provide a 24-hour on call search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland. They also provide the Lifeguard and Flood Rescue services. 

The Engineering and Supply Department designs, builds, supplies and supports the maintenance of the RNLI’s boats, buildings and equipment. In addition, it includes the Procurement, Logistics and Supply Chain Management functions as well as Sustainability for all departments.

Insights, Technology and Strategy includes Data, Evidence and Insights, IT and Digital Teams and facilitates the longer-term strategy development of the organisation.

Finance, Planning and Improvement includes Financial Planning and Governance, Continuous Improvement, Business Planning and Programmes and the Legal team. 

Fundraising, Marketing and Media manage activity to create income and raise the awareness of the RNLI, alongside looking after supporters and fundraisers.

People Department control the human resources and skills development functions for all staff and volunteers. 

International work in partnership with lifesaving organisations around the world to raise awareness, reduce drowning and to advocate drowning prevention.  

The RNLI has a varied supply chain and broad supplier base. We procure materials, engines and equipment to enable the construction of high-tech lifeboats at our manufacturing centres in Poole Dorset and in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. In addition, we buy and distribute lifesaving equipment, vehicles, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and clothing to our Lifeguards on 240 beaches, volunteer crews and staff at 238 lifeboat stations, Flood Rescue Teams, 6 regional bases and a number of support centres.  We operate a number of shops retailing new RNLI merchandise and supply RNLI branded materials to our fundraising and education teams throughout the UK and Ireland. At our Lifesaving Support Centre in Poole we have a training centre with accommodation and catering, alongside traditional office functions, warehousing and logistics. 

We have a group of dedicated procurement and supply chain category managers working to improve the governance, performance, cost effectiveness and sustainability of our supply chain. We include Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking clauses in our RNLI contracts to ensure that our suppliers are fully aware of our position and their obligations. Human Rights management is also part of the pre-selection questionnaire for new suppliers. We seek positive confirmation from our key operational suppliers in high risk geographies of their compliance to the Act. 

We are committed to working with our suppliers and partners to ensure that human trafficking and slavery are not taking place within our supply chain, or partnerships. As part of this approach we have implemented an updated procurement and supply policy. We are rolling out our Supplier Code of Conduct which sets out the RNLI’s expectations regarding business ethics, working conditions and human rights.

Questions relating to modern slavery also form part of the due diligence process we operate when planning work with both national and international partners.

In 2019 we provided specific training and guidance on modern slavery and human trafficking for our procurement and retail category managers and via our internal platforms, these resources are also available to all staff and volunteers. We will continue to raise awareness of Modern Slavery and provide access to relevant training and support for our staff and volunteers. 

We have a Compliance Management Framework, which seeks to assure adherence to our policies and processes. We also have a Safeguarding Policy and a Whistleblowing Hotline. 

We have a clear set of values that underpin our ethical position and the behaviours that are expected of all our volunteers and staff. This ethos is carried through  into ‘Our Watch’ 2020-24 and policies and the way we interact with partners, suppliers, supporters and the public. 

Angus Watson, Engineering and Supply Director on behalf of the RNLI Executive Team