Vernacare Limited, as a committed partner and supplier to the NHS Supply Chain, has engaged in a process to comply with their new Labour Standards Assurance System (LSAS), to guarantee that acceptable standards are held and maintained in all appropriate Supply Chains.
The NHS describes their stance on LSAS as:
NHS Supply Chain recognises its responsibility to ensure good social and ethical practices within its own operations and within its supply chain.
We also acknowledge that every supplier and worker deserves the right to live and work with dignity and respect, in decent and safe conditions and earn fair rates of pay and that under these conditions, both they and their companies benefit from increased commitment and productivity.
The NHS Supply Chain's Labour Standards Assurance System outlines the principles and guidelines we require our suppliers to comply with, in order to ensure that good labour standards are driven throughout our supply chain. We understand that assuring this compliance will be a complex process and have therefore developed the Labour Standards Assurance System 'maturity matrix' which defines four possible levels of compliance. We are committed to supporting our suppliers as they continually improve their performance and progress through these levels.
A Labour Standards Assurance System (LSAS) refers to the range of policies, procedures and practices that an organisation employs to identify labour standards abuses, mitigate risks and drive improvement, within:
- The organisation itself ('direct operations')
ii. Contractors and sub-contractors
iv. Other parties active in the supply chain
*The LSAS matrix will consider 'contractors' and 'sub contractors' to be limited to those relevant to product manufacture (including product finishing where relevant) for audit purposes.
There are 15 sections of the 'labour standards assurance (management) system specification' under four progressive Levels. Vernacare currently must achieve Level 2 accreditation by August.
The 15 sections of the 'labour standards assurance (management) system specification' cover:
2. Management representative
3. Labour standards status review
4. Legal and other requirements
5. Objectives, targets and programmes
6. Roles and responsibilities
7. Competence, training and awareness
9. Documentation and records
10. Operational control
11. Supply chain management
12. Emergency response
13. Performance monitoring and measurement
14. Corrective action
15. Management review
The terms and conditions that apply to this contract also make it a requirement that successful bidders commission independent third party assessments of their organisation's labour standards assurance arrangements against the 'labour standards assurance system specification' prior to or in tandem with contract award and at specified intervals throughout the duration of the contract.