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Modern Slavery Statement 2024


This statement describes the steps Thatchers Cider has taken to prevent modern slavery in its business and supply chains for the calendar year ending 31st December 2023 and the actions planned for the calendar year ending 31st December 2024, published in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Business Structure

This modern slavery statement covers Thatchers (Myrtle Farm) Limited, and the following companies for which Thatchers (Myrtle Farm) Limited is the ultimate parent company: Thatchers Holdings Limited (Property), John Thatcher Farming Limited (Orchards), Thatchers Railway Inn Limited (Public House), and Thatchers Cider Company Limited (Manufacturing). When we refer to ‘Thatchers Cider’ in this statement it covers all of those companies unless stated otherwise.

Thatchers Cider was established in 1904 by William Thatcher. Martin Thatcher, our current Managing Director is a fourth-generation cider maker who has continued to successfully grow the business year on year, from a local farmhouse cidermaker to a national supplier, employing approximately 250 people. Our roots are firmly placed in heritage, family values and sustainability along with craft, expertise, and a passion for quality. We still make all of our cider at the original Myrtle Farm in Sandford. Thatchers Cider has a board of executive and non-executive Directors, a senior management team, supervisors, and operational employees. Thatchers Cider has a modern slavery working group, made up with representatives from across the business that include the Operations Director, Customer Service Team Leader, Quality Technician and Supply Chain Administrator.

Supply Chains, Risk Assessment and Risk Management

Thatchers Cider has assessed its supplier list over the past year and updated the data on its systems, which has increased its “live” approved suppliers to 709, who supply apples, raw materials, packaging and services predominantly from the United Kingdom however certain supplies come in from further abroad that would include Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. All suppliers that are legally required to publish an annual modern slavery statement are asked to provide the details of their compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the country of origin of their goods and services, copies of their relevant policies and procedures and advise of any incidences of modern slavery that have occurred in their business or supply chain along with the remedial steps taken in these cases.
Any suppliers that are not legally required to have a modern slavery statement and therefore do not have their own appropriate policies are required to read this statement and provide written confirmation that they adhere to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Thatchers Cider compiles its suppliers responses onto its own systems and identifies any suppliers that have not provided the requested information, allowing further assessment. This would include a selection of follow up emails and phone calls to our suppliers contact points, followed by an escalation process through the management team, with the ultimate consequence resulting in a termination of supply. Suppliers are also referred to for further guidance.

If a Thatchers Cider employee suspects any supplier of being involved in modern slavery, they will raise the issue either directly with their Line Manager or by following the Thatchers Cider Whistleblowing Policy. This gives an individual a number of routes to report any concerns which includes an anonymous direct link via email to a third-party HR provider. Thatchers Cider Whistleblowing Policy is published as part of the Team Handbook on the company intranet. Details of how to access the Handbook is given out to all staff members as part of their induction. Thatchers will treat all such disclosures in a confidential and sensitive manner and will respect the wishes of any individual who raises concerns but wishes to remain anonymous: so long as this does not hinder or frustrate any investigation. This will then be reported to the relevant Director, either in writing or in person who is required to investigate and communicate their findings to the wider Board of Directors. If those investigations confirm a breach of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 or identify reasonable suspicions that the supplier has not satisfactorily addressed, then Thatchers Cider will make the appropriate notifications to the relevant authorities and Unseen who will advise on the appropriate action to take with the supplier, which is proportionate and adapted to the consequences of the case. Thatchers Cider recognises that instigating and insisting on the implementation of a modern slavery remediation plan with the supplier rather than immediately terminating the relationship may cause less vulnerability and risk for victims.

Due Diligence Processes

In addition to the above, Thatchers Cider due diligence includes;

  • An approval process for new suppliers who are supplying raw materials, processing aids and packaging materials. As part of this process an in-depth quality assurance (QA) questionnaire is sent to each supplier, with 14 of the questions specific to modern slavery and ethical trading, covering employee training, compliance to minimum wage laws and auditing procedures. Within the QA questionnaire, it is requested to provide evidence of answers provided by suppliers. This includes up to date copies of any Ethical Trading, Modern Slavery and Associated Policies, SEDEX membership details and auditing procedures.
  • Policies and procedures to allow concerns to be submitted to a Director of the company.
  • Thatchers Cider monitors and reviews the good practice guidance published by the UK government in managing modern slavery risks (‘Transparency in Supply Chains: a practical Guide’).

Action Taken in the Past Year

Thatchers Cider have continued their partnership throughout 2023 with the charity “Unseen” (registered charity number 1127620), who provide guidance on tackling modern slavery in supply chains and monitoring for potential issues.

  • The modern slavery working group, have contacted all of Thatchers Ciders existing suppliers; chased and filed responses; checked all responses for suitability and escalated all those which failed to respond.
  • During the last year, 44 employees in identified positions that may come into contact with modern slavery, have completed mandatory online modern slavery training, using the IHASCO platform. The IHASCO external company monitors and updates the information on training modules accordingly.
  • An updated issue of the Thatchers Cider Procurement / Purchasing Policy was created, its purpose is to ensure that all materials and services are suitable for purpose and only purchased from reputable and ethical suppliers.
  • In April 2023, Thatchers worked with Unseen to complete a Gap Analysis to identify any potential gaps in our current procedures. The working group have assessed and acted on the relevant areas identified from the Gap Analysis.

Thatchers Cider acknowledges that the areas within its business which are at the highest risk of modern slavery are procurement, farming and recruitment. Along with the outlined due diligence processes, Thatchers Cider do not currently use agency workers and employ all workers directly. If ever there was a reason for employing emergency agency workers, such as sickness cover, then Thatchers would audit the employment agency and ensure a service level agreement was put in place, to include vigilant checks around rights to work. Identification checks of any agency workers would also be carried out by Thatchers upon arrival at site. Thatchers would always treat agency workers equally to other members of staff.

Actions for 2024

During 2024, Thatchers Cider goals and key performance indicators regarding Modern Slavery are;

  • To conduct a new focussed training via Unseen, around procurement which is updated annually as well as being in line with legislative changes, with the relevant people in the business.
  • To complete a supplier risk assessment during 2024 with Unseen to identify any potential high-risk suppliers.
  • To work with Unseen to develop an escalation and remediation process which will investigate Thatchers process in a situation where modern slavery is identified within our supply chain.
  • To check all of Thatchers Ciders 132 new suppliers are in compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Board Approval

This statement was approved by the Boards of Directors of Thatchers Cider Company Limited on 27/02/2024.

Thatchers Ciders nominated individual, Gary Delafield, Operations Director for Thatchers Cider Company Limited, authorised by their board resolutions to sign this statement on behalf of Thatchers Myrtle Farm Limited, Thatchers Holdings Limited, John Thatcher Farming Limited and Thatchers Railway Inn Limited.

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Thatchers Cider Company Ltd, Myrtle Farm, Sandford, Somerset, BS25 5RA