Skip to main content

Supply chains and modern slavery in adult social care

8th November 2022

IPC Commissioning course Alumni workshop

The way adult social care has been delivered has changed significantly over the past three decades, with the move to outsourced, contracted-out service delivery. This shift has changed the demographics of the care workforce from public sector employees to a mix of outsourced workers employed through private service providers, staffing and employment agencies, and directly – and, increasingly, self-employed – personal assistants. This diversified range of employment practices reshapes the commissioning landscape and alongside pressures associated with record levels of vacancies in the sector and the new post-Brexit immigration system, they may lead to new sources of supply chain risk. One such risk is that of labour exploitation, including in its most extreme form, modern slavery.

In the 2022 Queen’s Speech, the UK Government confirmed its intention to make changes to the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015), mandating public authorities to report on the steps they have taken to reduce the risk of modern slavery in their supply chains. This duty will require local authorities to publish annually the steps that they have taken to eradicate modern slavery from their supply chains. A significant category of public spending, the labour supply chains of the social care sector have been identified as an area of high modern slavery risk. There are media reports of several suspicious cases of slavery-like practices which have been uncovered by the police and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA).

But what is modern slavery? Which groups of workers might be at particular risk? And how might we leverage the proposed legislative reforms to the UKs modern slavery act and its public procurement legislation to combat it?

This event provided an opportunity to discuss these issues and hear about the findings from an 18-month research project which examined the vulnerability to modern slavery of care workers in London and a case study on spotting the signs of modern slavery in practice.

The workshop was delivered by Dr Caroline Emberson (Research Fellow, Rights Lab, Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham), Gemma Shelton (Interim Group Manager, Quality and Market Management Team, Nottinghamshire County Council), and Dr Agnes Turnpenny (consultant, IPC).


The workshop will be relevant for health and social care colleagues who have an interest in contributing to and hearing from others particularly around: commissioning; quality and market management, provider relations, adult social care workforce.


This workshop will present the current policy landscape and a summary of findings and observations from recent projects. It will provide significant time for facilitated small group discussions, encouraging participants to share their own experience of good practice and offer solutions to challenges.

Workshop format

The workshop will be delivered online (via Microsoft Teams) and will feature a blend of presentations and smaller group discussions to enable participation by all delegates.


8th November 2022


This complimentary and exclusive event is offered to both Academic Partners of IPC and the Alumni of the IPC Certificate in Commissioning and Purchasing for Public Care.

Academic Partners of IPC will be emailed directly with an invitation to this workshop and associated booking form. Alumni members / current students should book here.

Invitations will be sent to Alumni members directly, so please check your email to register for this event. If you do not receive an email, and you believe you are an Alumni, please complete the following verification form and we will contact you.

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash.