This statement has been published in accordance with Section 54, Part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and outlines the work undertaken by plc (“The Works” or the “Group”) to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains.

Our structure and business

The Works is the UK’s leading family-friendly value retailer of arts & crafts, stationery, toys and books. Our mission is to offer customers a unique and enjoyable shopping experience, built on our core principles of value, variety and quality.

The Group offers its product range through its nationwide network of stores and its e-commerce platform. The Group employs more than 3,800 permanent colleagues.

Our supply chain

The Group has commercial relationships with approximately 375 different suppliers across the UK, Europe and Asia for the supply of its merchandise.

The Group’s main distribution and warehousing facilities at Boldmere House, Coleshill, Birmingham, support the entire store estate. The fulfilment of online sales is undertaken on our behalf by a third-party distribution partner, located in Corby, Northamptonshire.

Our policies

We conduct business fairly, ethically and with respect to fundamental human rights. We are fully committed to the prevention of all forms of slavery, forced labour or servitude, child labour and human trafficking, both in our business and supply chains.

The Group provides every colleague with a written contract of employment. We pay every colleague in accordance with the law. We comply with our legal obligations to ensure the health and safety of all colleagues, including in relation to working hours, rest breaks and holidays.

The Works has a bilingual (English and Simplified Chinese) Ethical Trading Code of Conduct which is circulated to all new suppliers of merchandise to the business to ensure that our requirements are well communicated and understood by such key external stakeholders.

Our Code of Conduct clearly outlines our social and ethical requirements, which include but are not limited to: Child Labour, Forced Labour, Safety Standards, Health and Hygiene, Associations, Discrimination and Coercion, Working Hours and Wages, and Environmental Impact.

Monitoring and due diligence

At The Works, we recognise the importance of the combination of having a clear set of policies together with a robust due diligence program as key drivers in mitigating the risk of modern slavery across our supply chains.

Firstly, we require all new suppliers of merchandise to sign our Terms and Conditions of Purchase which include references to our Ethical Trading Code of Conduct, and our specific ethical sourcing requirements for our suppliers of merchandise and their associated factories. These Terms and Conditions of Purchase must be signed before The Works will place orders.

Secondly, we have conducted a risk assessment on our supplier base of stock products (sold in store and online) in order to form the basis of our supply chain ethical compliance program. This risk assessment considers two core variables: the brand element and the country of origin.

Our commitment and further steps

We are committed to developing long-term relationships with suppliers who share our commitment to eradicating slavery and human trafficking and whose business practices are responsible and ethical.

In support of this, we have recently developed a long-term strategy with our newly appointed ethical supply chain compliance partner, Verisio.

The first phase of this program will incorporate a supply chain mapping exercise which will allow us to build on our knowledge of our supply network. Following this, we will then conduct an assessment of our suppliers’ factories which will include a thorough review of factory ethical audit reports and any identified nonconformances in order to calculate the overall risk for a particular site.

Alongside this, we are reducing the number of suppliers we work with through a supplier rationalisation and relationship management program, which will allow us to focus our attentions on fostering collaborative long-term relationships with fewer suppliers and to manage our suppliers’ performance from an ethical supply chain compliance perspective using the data collected from our suppliers via Verisio.

Approved and adopted by the Board of plc on 28 February 2024.

Gavin Peck
Chief Executive Officer