Modern Slavery Statement

This statement applies to the James Hutton Group incorporating The James Hutton Institute and James Hutton Limited (together referred to in this statement as ‘Hutton’). The information included in the statement refers to the financial year 2023/24. The James Hutton Institute encompasses Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, which is legally and administratively part of the James Hutton Institute, although operates with scientific autonomy.

The Group is governed by a Board of Directors who are Trustees of The James Hutton Institute. James Hutton Limited has its own Board, whose Chair is a member of the Group Board. The Group Board is supported by four sub-committees:

  • Audit and Finance Committee (A&FC)
  • Science Excellence & Research Impact Committee (SERIC)
  • People & Governance Committee (P&GC)
  • Capital Programme Committee (CPC)

The Group Board and A&FC, SERIC and P&GC meet at least four times each year, as does the James Hutton Limited Board. The CPC meets as required, but typically at least twice each year in recent years.

We are a well-respected and globally recognised research institute delivering fundamental and applied science to drive the sustainable use of land and natural resources. An internationally networked organisation, we operate from several sites in Scotland. As a group we employ more than 550 Science and Professional Services staff from over 25 countries (including the UK), making us one of the largest research organisations in the UK and the first of its type in Europe.

Our core activity takes place in the UK but Hutton scientists undertake international research and collaborative project working as well as participating in and delivering conference presentations in countries outside the UK, often supported by international funding.

Our scientific activities are subject to regular review (internally and externally) and overseen by our Research Ethics Committee (REC) and Research Integrity Group (RIG). The primary role of the REC is to protect the dignity, rights and welfare of researchers and those acting as human volunteers in research studies. The REC gives due regard to the consequences of the proposed research for others affected directly by it and to the interests of those who do not take part in the research but who might benefit or suffer from its outcomes in the future. The RIG was established to promote and advise on best research practice within Hutton and to investigate any allegations of research misconduct. Hutton is committed to the highest standards of research practice and scientific publishing, and upholds all commitments made under the Universities UK concordat to support research integrity.

The terms and conditions of our employees are negotiated and agreed with our recognised trade union, Prospect.

  • human trafficking
  • forced work, through mental or physical threat
  • being owned or controlled by an employer through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse
  • being dehumanised, treated as a commodity or being bought or sold as property.
  • being physically constrained or to have restriction placed on freedom of movement.

Hutton acknowledges its responsibilities in relation to tackling modern slavery and commits to complying with the provisions in the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Our research is supported by many professional and technical activities; our procurement and human resources teams are key in supporting our zero-tolerance approach to slavery and human trafficking. Hutton understands that this requires an ongoing review of both its internal practices in relation to its labour force and, additionally, its supply chains.

Hutton has a normal annual expenditure level of approximately £12 million across goods, services and works. The main supply chains of the Hutton include:

  • scientific equipment and consumables
  • IT hardware and software • vehicles and plant
  • catering and cleaning • waste disposal services
  • energy and fuel
  • water and sewerage
  • financial and legal services
  • buildings and equipment maintenance services
  • consultancy services
  • publications

During our £62m capital investment in the Invergowrie campus as part of the Tay Cities Region Deal, we are spending significantly more annually over the period from 2021/22 to 2024/25 – just over £18m was spent in 2022/23 and around £25m in 2024/25. We have also won £13m from Scottish Government for two Just Transition projects, being delivered between 2022/23 and 2025/26. This spend is primarily within construction supply chains, and also on items of scientific equipment. A number of other significant capital grants have been secured from sources including: the Department for Science Innovation and Technology and its predecessor the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; Scottish Enterprise; the Wolfson Foundation; the Garfield Weston Foundation; the Natural Environment Research Council; and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. These grants are supporting the purchase during 2023/24 and 2024/25 of items of scientific equipment with a total value of nearly £10m.

Hutton considers its main exposure to the risk of slavery and human trafficking to exist in its procurement supply chain and, to a limited extent, through the employment of staff and use of agency-provided workers.

Hutton considers its exposure to slavery/human trafficking among employees/workers to be low as all our people are based in the UK, they are highly skilled, and we undertake most recruitment activity ourselves. However, on an annual basis, a small number of employees are engaged via an agency for fixed term farm work. It is acknowledged that this process carries a higher risk.

Our level of use of workers engaged and paid through a third party is extremely low and, when undertaken, a procurement process is used to identify an appropriate organisation.

Risks of modern slavery, however, are higher within our indirect and extended global supply chains.

James Hutton Limited has minority shareholdings in a small number of commercial entities whose business relates to Hutton’s fields of scientific and commercial activity, and which may also draw on intellectual property developed by or in collaboration with Hutton. Prior to investment in any such business, and while continuing to be invested, we seek to ensure that the business follows standards that at least meet those of the Hutton.

Hutton has not, to its knowledge, conducted any business with another organisation which has been found to have involved itself with modern slavery. In accordance with section 54(4) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, we set out below the steps taken with a view to ensuring that modern slavery is not taking place.

We minimise risk primarily by ensuring that the vast majority of our procurement activity is under formal contract. These are mainly through either Scottish Government National Framework Agreements or through our participation in collaborative contracts arranged on our behalf by APUC (Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges) of which the Hutton is an Associate Member. Where necessary and appropriate, contracts are also directly arranged, and subject to appropriate due diligence.

Regulated procurement activity above the regulated procurement threshold, and when deemed appropriate below this threshold, requires tenderers (and any sub-contractor or supply partner on which they rely) to complete an SPD (Single Procurement Document). The SPD requires the tenderer to disclose details of its trading activity, and legal and environmental compliance. This includes disclosure of whether the tenderer or any member of their organisation with decision making powers has been convicted in the last five years or any offence under part 1 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015, or any provision referred to in the Schedule for that Act.

Directly arranged contracts include, as minimum, the use of local employment and living wage clauses along with the provision to terminate the contract on the grounds of human trafficking. Such provisions are a key element in efforts to eliminate modern slavery. In addition, the Scottish Government and APUC both provide advice and guidance on all procurement matters including modern slavery. We regularly review our procurement procedures to ensure that our primary suppliers are compliant with the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. We include termination powers in directly awarded contracts, to be used if the supplier is, or is suspected to be involved in modern slavery. We review the processes undertaken by any employment agencies used for short term farm staff recruitment.

Appropriate documentation and processes are in place for all employees (including those sourced via agency) including a personal contract of employment and bank account details.

Hutton’s Director of Finance & Company Secretary is our designated Slavery Compliance Officer, to whom all concerns regarding modern slavery can be addressed, and who will then undertake relevant action to support the discharge of Hutton’s obligations.

In 2021/22, to strengthen awareness of the importance of being vigilant about modern slavery, we introduced a compulsory online training module for all Hutton employees. All existing employees completed this module at the time and all new starts complete the module as part of their induction. All continuing employees are subject to periodic refresher training.

Future activity which will be undertaken with the aim of ensuring that the risk of slavery/human trafficking is minimised in Hutton is:

  • Continued review of the existing Procurement Policy to minimise the risks within our procurement activity.
  • Regular online refresher training for all employees following the initial online training rollout. • The ongoing use of due diligence processes in relation to ensuring slavery and/or human trafficking does not take place in Hutton or the primary supply chain.
  • Continued review of the control of suppliers.

Hutton’s Sustainable Procurement Policy further defines our stance on modern slavery.

This statement is made in accordance with Section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2010 and will be reviewed each financial year.

Susan Davies, Chair

Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive

May 2024