21st February 2023


Streamed via Zoom and in person at Wellcome Collection


Public Procurement and Due Diligence

6:30pm - 8:30pm, with refreshments provided. 

The conference will be hybrid, allowing for in-person and remote attendance.

The UK spends £290 billion on public procurement every year. However, the discharge of NHS patients into private care homes where they died from covid, and the purchase of PPE from factories in Malaysia where there is evidence of forced labour, shows that the UK is failing to comply with both the law and its own stated policy commitments. And those whose rights are violated have no justice. But it doesn’t have to be this way in the future. People could get justice and commercial organisations could be held accountable.

The European Parliament is currently debating a directive on corporate sustainability and due diligence, which will require corporations to ensure that their supply chains don’t breach human rights and environmental norms by using their commercial leverage. And in the UK there is a campaign for a new UK law to hold companies and the public sector to account when they fail to prevent human rights abuses and environmental harms in their global value chains. Should the UK public sector be amendable to such a law? If so, what form could it take and what would be the obstacles to make it effective?

These are some of the questions that will be discussed at the joint Doughty Street Chambers and UNISON Business and Human Rights Roundtable.


Gemma Freedman, International Officer, UNISON

Gemma currently leads on Business and Human Rights and Asia/Pacific where she focuses on the purchasing power of public procurement in global supply chains and campaigning for a new UK Business, Human Rights and Environment Act.

Neil McInnes, Pinsent Masons

Dr Claire Methven O’Brien, University of Dundee


Krishnendu Mukherjee, Doughty Street Chambers

Krishnendu Mukherjee is a barrister and Indian advocate, working with the most vulnerable and marginalised, especially from the global south, through his trans-national practice of immigration, environment and business and human rights.

General Accessibility:

  • Please let us know in advance if you need any assistance accessing our meeting facilities. For further information, please refer to the Reasonable Adjustment section of DSC’s Equality & Diversity Policy here or contact DSC Head of Facilities, Terrance Munduru.

The recording of the conference is available below