High Seat Holdings Limited
Modern Slavery Act Statement for the year ended 31 December 2016.
This statement is written in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in relation to the financial year ended 31 December 2016.
High Seat Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries (together “HSL” or the “Group”) are committed to taking all appropriate actions to support the abolition of modern slavery and human trafficking. In doing so, we have developed a series of steps to mitigate the risks of modern slavery within our operations and supply chain.
Overview of the Group
HSL has been manufacturing handcrafted furniture for almost 50 years, and today is one of the UK’s leading retailers of comfort furniture, with a particular emphasis on recliners, riser-recliners and electrically adjustable beds. We design and manufacture a number of our product ranges in-house as well as working with carefully selected manufacturing partners, and we sell to consumers through a network of 58 retail stores across the UK.
The majority of our furniture is manufactured to order, from a range of configuration options and a wide selection of fabrics.
The Group’s supply chain
Our own manufacturing operations are based exclusively in the UK, in our factory in Batley, West Yorkshire.
A core element of our offering is the significant focus on British manufacturing. In the financial year ending 31 December 2016, more than 95% of our sales were of products manufactured in the UK, either by HSL itself, or through four key manufacturing partners, all of which are well-established and reputable businesses. The majority of our ongoing supply chain of furniture from outside of the UK now comprises two manufacturers of swivel chairs, both based in the EU, with which we work in close partnership. This includes the close involvement of HSL’s senior management team.
Elements of our occasional furniture and accessory ranges are sourced from wider international suppliers, however these represent a very small proportion of our Group sales.
Raw materials, including wood, foam, fabric, mechanical actions, motors and handsets used in our in-house manufacturing operations are sourced from well-regarded suppliers, many of these wholesalers and converters based in the UK, Europe and the United States.
Our distribution and delivery activities are fulfilled by a combination of HSL’s in-house logistics operations and by third party carriers delivering furniture on our behalf. External carriers are based in the UK, and more than 90% of our third party deliveries by volume are managed by five key partners with whom we work in close collaboration.
Due diligence processes for slavery and human trafficking
HSL takes seriously our responsibility of ensuring that human rights are being appropriately respected within our Group and its supply chain. We strive to act with integrity at all times and there are several internal polices already in place which help safeguard against human rights infringements including a Group purchasing policy, standard procurement terms and conditions; a health and safety policy; and our recruitment policies and procedures.
All activity across the group, and the performance and suitability of our third party partners is monitored and measured through ongoing customer satisfaction assessments via customer service follow-up calls, customer questionnaires and other independent customer feedback mechanisms.
All labour sourcing and recruitment across the Group are under the control of trusted and competent staff members, including HSL’s People Support function.
Internal channels – both formally structured and informal – are maintained which allow feedback from staff from all areas of our business. As a family-run business, the passion employees hold for our long-established, trusted brand and the firm focus on customer satisfaction together direct our more than 400 members of staff to make use these channels where they identify activities within our supply chain which are unethical or inappropriate.
In the event that HSL suspects any slavery and human trafficking within its supply chain, the Group will report such suspicions, provide appropriate information to the relevant authorities, and suspend or terminate any associated business arrangement or contract.
The Group’s Board of Directors has overall responsibility for corporate governance, including any anti-slavery initiatives. In spite of the UK-centric nature of our business, we acknowledge there is a risk of exposure to modern slavery in our supply chain.
As part of our commitment to mitigating any risks we have increased our focus within the business by:
• Writing to all major established and new suppliers to remind them of our commitment to the Modern Slavery Act, and reiterating that HSL will not tolerate any breaches of the act by suppliers;
• Seeking written confirmation of suppliers’ commitment to eradicating human trafficking within their own business and supply chain; and
• Increasing the extent and frequency of contact within the day-to-day relationships of our largest suppliers.
We are currently reviewing our training programmes within the business, and future training will include specific training which addresses the implications of the Modern Slavery Act.
We will also deliver internal awareness programmes through internal communication, induction programmes and employee handbooks, highlighting the responsibility of being alert to modern slavery and the collaboration required by all employees to mitigate any risks.
Assessment of Effectiveness:
We recognise that the commitment to a zero-tolerance policy to human rights abuse is a process of continuous improvement and we will continue to regularly assess the effectiveness of our programme.
This statement is approved, on behalf of the Board, by Group Chairman William Burrows
30 June 2017