The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires UK companies to promote ethical business practices and polices that protect workers from being abused and exploited in their own organisations. This statement has been prepared in accordance with section 54 of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 for our financial year 2018/19.
Toals Bookmakers is a leading independent multi-chain betting and gaming firm in Northern Ireland, we are a family run business established in 1932. The first branch was opened in Ballymena, Co. Antrim and since then the company has progressed rapidly in size and reputation; we currently have 50 recently modernised branches located throughout every county within Northern Ireland, including our flagship store on Belfast's High Street which is the largest betting shop in the UK and Ireland.
In addition to our 50 retail outlets we also offer a Telephone Betting Service open seven days a week and in January 2017 we expanded into online betting. We employ over 200 people spread across Northern Ireland.
Toals is committed to continuously improving its practices to identify and eliminate any slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains, and to acting ethically and with integrity in all its business relationships.
Toals uses a wide range of suppliers who supply goods, provide services and support our operations.
As a company, we are committed to conducting our operations with honesty and integrity, and with respect for human rights and the interests of our employees. We similarly respect the legitimate interests of those with whom we do business with, and who are affected by our operations. Our policies operate within a framework to comply with all relevant laws.
We have a whistleblowing policy in place to ensure that our employees and contractors can voice any concerns about modern slavery without fear of repercussion. We also try to ensure that our contracts with suppliers require them to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
Toals Bookmakers remains aware of the continuing risks, impacts and costs of global slavery and human trafficking, and fully support the original principles of the MSA and the guidance published in October 2017. Toals Bookmakers maintains a zero-tolerance approach to slavery and trafficking in all forms. We encourage employees and contractors to identify and report any suspicions of modern slavery taking place in our business or supply chain.
We continually review our business and supply chain to identify areas which may be at risk of contravening the Modern Slavery Act and take the necessary steps to mitigate any risks identified. Internally we have a number of processes in place to verify the identity of our workforce to make sure we know exactly who is working for us. All employees undergo right to work checks before they are offered a contact with us. We also carry out reference checks and, as appropriate, qualifications and license checking, depending on their role.
During the year, we have continued to provide advice and guidance to those teams who have direct responsibility for relevant supply chains.
Over the course of the next financial year we will continue to enhance our procedures to help us identify, prevent and mitigate any risks of modern slavery or human trafficking in relation to new and existing suppliers.