Working with us
UK Biobank is the most detailed, large-scale biomedical database and research resource in the world, enabling the international scientific community to better understand a range of common and life-threatening diseases. We continue to maintain this focus through the adoption of pioneering technologies and regular health follow-up on half a million participants. Our actions support the vision of the health research community to improve the future health of millions of people.
To achieve these goals, in addition to employing over 200 staff, we also work with a range of carefully selected partners.
On this webpage, you can learn more about how we work with our partners, and our expectations of them when providing goods and services.
Bullying and Harassment
UK Biobank is committed to ensuring that its staff, and people working with UK Biobank or in a UK Biobank workplace, are treated with dignity and respect. We believe that all staff, contractors and suppliers have the right to work in an environment which is free from harassment, intimidation or other forms of bullying and we expect our staff, contractors and suppliers to treat others in the same way.
UK Biobank sets this out in an anti-bullying and harassment policy that is provided to all UK Biobank staff and temporary workers. This sets out the standards of behaviour that we expect from UK Biobank staff, when interacting with fellow colleagues, or with staff working for UK Biobank’s contractors and suppliers. In return, we also expect the same standard of behaviour by staff working for UK Biobank’s contractors and suppliers when interacting with UK Biobank staff.
Allegations of bullying or harassment involving UK Biobank staff, its contractors, suppliers or other individuals working with UK Biobank, should be reported to UK Biobank’s Head of HR or Deputy Chief Executive where these cannot be resolved informally. Any allegations received will be investigated.
Where UK Biobank finds evidence of bullying or harassment by UK Biobank staff towards staff working for contractors and suppliers, we will take appropriate action in line with our policies, which may include disciplinary action.
Where UK Biobank finds evidence of bullying or harassment by contractor or supplier staff, UK Biobank will escalate this with the supplier/contractor and request steps are taken by the supplier/contractor to address the behaviour (which could include requesting individuals be removed from the contract with UK Biobank). UK Biobank may seek to terminate its relationship with the supplier/contractor should the steps proposed be insufficient.
UK Biobank believe all people should benefit from basic rights and freedoms, including the right to live a life free from modern slavery, such as human trafficking, slavery, servitude, child labour and other forced or compulsory labour. Risks of modern slavery are higher in lower skill occupations and where labour is based in high risk countries overseas.
We consider the risk of modern slavery in our operations as low, as our staff are all based within the UK, principally on a direct employment basis, or through a UK-based partner. We seek to appoint credible suppliers of our goods and services and our standard contracting terms include a provision requiring all suppliers to comply with all applicable laws (which includes the Modern Slavery Act 2015).
UK Biobank seeks to conduct its business honestly and with integrity at all times. However, we acknowledge that all organisations face the risk of unknowingly harbouring malpractice. By encouraging a culture of openness and accountability within the organisation, we believe that we can help prevent such situations occurring.
UK Biobank has a whistleblowing policy which protects UK Biobank workers from qualifying disclosures made that indicate evidence of a criminal offence, danger to the health or safety of an individual or risks of damage to the environment. Such concerns should be reported to the appropriate contact at UK Biobank, or failing that, the Deputy Chief Executive.
UK Biobank will investigate disclosures made under the policy, and will seek to do so fully, fairly, promptly and confidentially. The policy also sets out that an individual raising genuinely-held concerns under this policy should not be subjected to detriment, unwarranted action or victimisation as a result of raising these concerns.
Anti-bribery and corruption
It is our policy to conduct all of our business in an honest and ethical manner. We take a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships wherever we operate. We are also committed to implementing and enforcing effective systems to counter bribery.
In general, UK Biobank does not believe that it is appropriate for employees or workers to accept gifts or donations from contractors, suppliers, visitors, actual or potential participants or any other person or organisation with which UK Biobank has (or might have) business connections.
UK Biobank retains a register of gifts. All gifts received by UK Biobank staff must be disclosed. Gifts that have a substantial financial value will be returned. Suppliers/contractors should not offer any gifts or hospitality with the intent of securing a business advantage.
UK Biobank staff that are offered a bribe or experience corruption are required to report this. Evidence of unlawful activity will be reported to the police.
Code of conduct
In addition UK Biobank has adopted a code of conduct which it expects key suppliers to follow.