Modern Slavery Statement

LifeArc seeks to uphold the highest standards of honesty and integrity in its business dealings and operates a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery and human trafficking. We strive to ensure that there is transparency in our approach to tackling modern slavery, consistent with the disclosure obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Act). Our policies and procedures demonstrate this commitment to act ethically and with integrity in all our interactions with stakeholders.

Our organisation

LifeArc is a self-funded medical research charity registered in England and Wales. We accelerate healthcare innovation by transforming promising life-science ideas into life-changing medical breakthroughs for patients.

With over 200 employees, the charity has dedicated laboratories in Stevenage and Edinburgh, and a team based at the Francis Crick Institute, with corporate support functions located in our London office.

Our activities are overseen by the Board of Trustees who have overall and ultimate responsibility for the Charity’s activities. LifeArc’s day to day management resides in our Executive Team which reports directly to the Board of Trustees.

Our supply chains

To carry out our activities efficiently, we use suppliers to support the operations of our organisation. The main areas in which we engage suppliers are:

  • Procurement of laboratory consumables and equipment
  • Research services
  • Facilities management
  • Information technology
  • Publishing and marketing
  • Finance
  • Professional services.

Our due diligence and contracting processes

During 2021 we continued to apply our existing processes as follows:

  • Reporting/Whistleblowing – we encourage everyone working for us to report concerns about suspected wrongdoing at work via an internal reporting avenue or by contacting an independent and confidential whistle-blowing hotline.
  • Procurement – we use our third-party risk management and due diligence solution to onboard, screen and continuously monitor our suppliers, investees and contracting parties. We analysed the outcome of the screening and removed any which presented risks to our organisation.
  • Human Resources – we conduct recruitment checks on our employees to ensure they have the right to work in the UK and pay at least the National Living Wage to all employees. Market-related pay and rewards are reviewed annually. A number of wellbeing initiatives support employee physical and mental health.
  • Contract authorisation process – we ensure appropriate due diligence is completed on a counter-party before a significant contract is signed.
  • Agreements – we require counterparties to comply with the law (including in relation to modern slavery and human trafficking).
  • Assessing and managing risk – we seek to embed the identification and assessment of risk, and mitigation where required, into our strategic and operational decision making activity.

Our policies on anti-slavery and human trafficking

We have a number of policies that contribute to ensuring modern slavery does not occur in our organisation or supply chains:

  • Modern Slavery Policy – requires employees to prevent, detect and report modern slavery in any part of our business or supply chains.
  • Whistleblowing Policy – enables employees to raise concerns and disclose information internally and at a high level which the individual believes shows malpractice or impropriety.
  • Safeguarding Policy – ensures that vulnerable groups impacted by projects and programmes delivered and/or supported by LifeArc are protected as far as possible from harm, including exploitation, neglect and abuse of all kinds.
  • Equal Opportunities Policy – embodies our commitment to establishing a diverse workforce and create equal opportunity for all.
  • Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy – requires employees to prevent, detect and report bribery and corruption, ensuring LifeArc conducts its business in an honest and ethical manner. All employees are requird to complete e-learning on anti-bribery and corruption.
  • Health and Safety Policy – ensures as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of employees and others that may be affected by our activities. LifeArc also complies with the Working Time Regulations (1998).
  • Procurement Policy – includes factors to be considered when selecting our suppliers such as compliance with laws. New and renewed supply contracts are expressly obliged to comply with the Act.

Risk assessment

LifeArc believes that because of the steps it has taken, it has a low risk of modern slavery issues within the business and in its direct supply chain, and there have been no reported instances of suspected modern slavery or people trafficking during the year. However, we are not complacent and will continue to be alert for potential issues.

Our commitment

We are committed to minimising the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking occurring in our organisation and supply chains and will: (i) continue to review our approach to modern slavery and human trafficking and raise awareness across the organisation; (ii) continue to refine our third-party risk management and due diligence processes; and (iii) revise and refine our procurement procedures.

Approval for this statement

This statement is made pursuant to section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes our slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial period ending 31 December 2021. It has been approved by the Board of Trustees.

Signed by Dr John Stageman

Dr John Stageman OBE, Chair

22 March 2022