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Modern Slavery Act

High Seat Holdings Limited

Modern Slavery Act Statement for the year ended 31 December 2017.

This statement is written in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in relation to the financial year ended 31 December 2017.

High Seat Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries (“HSL” or “the Group”) are together committed to taking all appropriate actions to support the abolition of modern slavery and human trafficking. In doing so, we continue to employ, and develop, processes across our Group which mitigate the risks of modern slavery within its operations and supply chain.

Overview of the Group

2018 is HSL’s Golden Jubilee, in which we celebrate 50 years in the manufacture and sale of handcrafted furniture. Our furniture ranges are ergonomically designed, specialised products which offer support and a personalised fit; aiding customers’ comfort and posture and making sitting and standing easier.   We design and manufacture a number of these product ranges in-house as well as working with a small number of carefully selected manufacturing partners.  We sell directly to consumers through a network of 59 retail stores across the UK.

The Group’s supply chain

Our own manufacturing operations are based exclusively in the UK, in our factory in Batley, West Yorkshire.

Across all of our ranges, there is a significant focus on British manufacturing.  In the financial year ending 31 December 2017, more than 94% of our sales were of products manufactured in the UK, either by HSL itself, or through four key manufacturing partners, all of which are established and reputable businesses.  The majority of furniture from outside of the UK comprises two manufacturers of swivel chairs, both based in the EU, with which we work in close partnership.  The working relationship with these partners includes the close involvement of HSL’s board of directors and senior management team.

Elements of our occasional furniture and accessory ranges are sourced from overseas suppliers from further afield, however these represent a very small proportion of the Group’s sales.

Raw materials, including wood, foam, fabric, mechanical actions, motors and handsets used in our in-house manufacturing operations are sourced from longstanding 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 deliveries by volume during the year under review were managed by three key partners with whom we worked in close collaboration.

Due diligence processes for slavery and human trafficking

HSL is a family-owned business. Our trusted brand, which has been built over 50 years and which is based on traditional family values and a passionate care for people, is fiercely protected by all colleagues, who collectively recognise their responsibility for ensuring that human rights are being appropriately respected across all operations.

HSL strives to act with integrity at all times and there are policies and procedures in place which help safeguard against potential infringements of human rights.  These include a Group purchasing policy; standard procurement terms and conditions; a health and safety policy implemented by the Group’s board and executed by a Health & Safety Committee; and our recruitment policies.

The performance and suitability of our third party suppliers is monitored and measured through ongoing customer satisfaction assessments undertaken via customer service follow-up calls, customer questionnaires and other independent customer feedback mechanisms including Trustpilot.

All recruitment and sourcing of temporary staff across the Group is under the control of members of the senior management team, and always includes involvement by experienced HR professionals within HSL’s People Support team.

A number of channels exist to allow real-time and, periodically, more formal feedback from staff across the Group, including the opportunity to report any concerns in relation to human rights.  These channels include clear management hierarchies, staff listening groups with directors and an employee engagement survey which is implemented each year.

In the event that HSL suspects any slavery and human trafficking within its supply chain, we will report such suspicions, provide appropriate information to the relevant authorities, and suspend or terminate any associated business arrangement or contract.

Risk assessment

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:

  • Formally document with all significant suppliers our commitment to the Modern Slavery Act, the standards we expect from them, and our stance that HSL will not tolerate any breaches of the act by suppliers; and
  • Have continued to increase the extent and frequency of contact by the most senior members of our business within the day-to-day relationships of our largest suppliers. Wherever practical we visit the operations of our suppliers.

Employee Training

We will continue to explore development and training opportunities for members of staff for whom the implications of the Modern Slavery Act could impact upon their roles.

Furthermore our regular channels of internal communication will continue to highlight the implications of modern slavery and the role expected from all members of staff to mitigate the risk of it being allowed to arise.

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. 

20 June 2018