1. Introduction

Our Modern Slavery Statement

This is our second Modern Slavery Statement.

Modern slavery encompasses a wide range of horrendous crimes such as human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced labour.  Arts Council England has zero tolerance of modern slavery. 

We are committed to improving our practices to prevent modern slavery within our own business and our supply chains. This statement explains the steps taken to identify, prevent and mitigate modern slavery. 

About Arts Council England

The Arts Council of England, trading as Arts Council England, was established by Royal Charter on 13 March 1994. We are also a registered charity, charity registration number 1036733, and an arm’s length non-departmental public body.

As an arm’s length non-departmental public body, we are accountable to Ministers.  The framework document agreed with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport sets out the Secretary of State’s expectations of Arts Council England.

You can find out more information not included in this statement on our website.  For example, how Arts Council England is governed, structured, and our history in About us; our 10-year strategy in our strategy 2020-2030; and more in our annual reports.

Our work

We are the national development agency for creativity and culture in England.  We deliver our work from nine offices across England.

Our annual income in 2021 / 2022 was £943 million.

We believe that great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us.  In short, it makes life better.

We champion, develop and invest in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections.

We will invest public money from government and money from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

2. Our policies in relation to modern slavery

We have reviewed our own business, our supply chains, and our recipients of funding to help us identify where there is risk of us unwittingly employing victims of modern slavery.  We provide more detail on the assessments we have done on our employment practices, our supply chains, and recipients of funding below.

Our staff

In 202½022 we employed 639 staff (full time and fixed term). Our staff are mostly in professional or technical roles.  Our recruitment practices follow Government best practice.  As part of our recruitment processes, we confirm eligibility to work in the UK, and all staff are paid above living wage.  We also have a code of ethics, which reflects the Seven (Nolan) Principles of Public Life, which we expect our staff to follow.

We are proud that in 202½022 Arts Council England was re-assessed and retained our Investors In People Gold standard.  As part of holding this accreditation we are independently reviewed by Investors In People.

We recognise a major trade union and we permit that trade union to advertise and recruit freely in our workplaces. We have staff that are Trade Union Representatives.  You can find out more in our annual reports.

As part of our employment policies and procedures, Arts Council England has a whistleblowing policy.  Our whistleblowing policy provides staff with three options to raise a concern with us; Option 1 through their direct line manager; Option 2 through the Counter Fraud Manager; and Option 3 in the event that the member staff cannot raise their concern through Option 1 or 2, and the concern is sufficiently urgent or serious then the member of staff may raise this with either the Chief Executive Officer, a member of National Council or its Performance and Audit Committee, the Permanent Secretary of State, or an appropriate member of the external list of prescribed people and bodies.

We also provide an independent and confidential assistance helpline for our staff.  The helpline is a telephone and online help service for personal, legal, financial, tax, or work issues.

We believe these policies, practices and processes would identify modern slavery in our employment practices.

Recipients of our funding

In 202½022 Arts Council England distributed funding totalling £970 million. The majority of the grants made were distributed to small organisations or individuals based in England.

Our standard terms and conditions for grants obligates our recipients of funding to comply with all relevant laws and government requirements.  This obligation includes the Modern Slavery Act 2015 where it applies.

Our National Portfolio Organisations terms and conditions for grants obligates our National Portfolio Organisations to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 where it applies to the organisation.

In addition, our existing terms and conditions for grants obligates recipients of funding to have appropriate policies and procedures in place and act in accordance with them at all times to help them comply with any relevant law, government requirements or best practice.

Our supply chains

In 202½022 we purchased under £12.5 million goods and services from suppliers.

Most of our suppliers are within the UK, and we always consider using Public Sector Framework Agreements where possible.  This includes but is not limited to Crown Commercial Services Frameworks.  This means due diligence and vetting has already taken place on a number of our suppliers as they have already demonstrated they meet the high quality standards stipulated at the Framework stage thereby reducing the risks associated with modern slavery.

Where the Government framework Agreements are not deemed suitable for our requirements we undertake our own due diligence of the supplier(s) and we use a Standard Questionnaire in accordance with Public Procurement Policy for high value procurements.  In addition, little of what we directly purchase comes from industry sectors where there may be a higher risk of modern slavery, for example extraction and textiles industries.

As a result of this, we continue to believe that the risk of modern slavery in our supply chains is relatively low. However, we will continue to take proportionate and beneficial steps so that we reduce that risk in our supply chains and our suppliers onward supply chains.

Following our first Modern Slavery Statement, we updated our supplier contract terms and conditions to include obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.  You can find our contract terms and conditions on our website.

We aim to continue to update supplier contract terms and conditions to include obligations under the Act on renewal or extension of those contracts.  We also aim to update our tender documents and procurement terms and conditions to contain a reminder for our suppliers that they should review their obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. 

Training and awareness

We provide training to our staff on joining through our induction process, and we have ongoing learning and development. This learning includes our organisation’s policies, and we have specific learning that our staff must complete to take part in our recruitment processes.

We aim for staff involved in procurement activity to undertake appropriate training in tackling modern slavery in supply chains.

We believe awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking is important to make this statement effective. To achieve this, we will communicate this statement to our staff through email, and our intranet.

In addition, we aim to communicate this statement to our suppliers.

3. Making our statement effective

Making our statement effective

We will communicate this statement to all our staff. Staff who have any concerns may raise these through our whistleblowing policy, or report suspicions through our counter fraud policy. Our whistleblowing and counter fraud contacts are monitored and reported internally to our Chief Financial Officer.

Members of the public, recipients of funding, and our staff either directly or through third parties may raise a complaint with us using our complaint process about how we have treated them or their application for funding. In addition and separate to our complaint process, we allow anyone to raise a concern with us whether directly or through a third party. We will investigate any complaint or allegation received.


We will review and update this statement on an annual basis. This statement will next be reviewed from April 2023 and published in September 2023.

Approval of this statement

This statement is made in accordance with section 54(1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and is approved by the Trustees of Arts Council England. This statement will be made available on our website and on the Government’s Modern Slavery Statement Registry

Signed by Sir Nicholas Serota CH (Chair) and Dr Darren Henley OBE (Chief Executive) on behalf of The Arts Council of England.