Analysing Labour Risks for a UK Retailer

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In 2021, Anthesis was commissioned by an online UK retailer to undertake an independent due diligence assessment and evaluation of the company’s self-employed driver model.  

Delivery drivers are essential to any online business delivering goods and services to customers. The retailer contacted Anthesis as the business was impacted by a shortage of drivers. This was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has also created supply chain disruptions and highlighted the health and safety risks to transport and delivery drivers and the potential for poor working conditions and low pay.


Anthesis worked with the company to understand the employer’s current driver models and identify and prioritise key labour risks, considering upcoming legislation and public consultations in this area. The work identified the key risks of the current self-employment model compared to an employed driver model and made a number of recommendations to mitigate those risks. The study also reviewed the current due diligence process, recruitment policies, and assessment, and monitoring requirements for drivers within the organisation.  Driver shortage, employment conditions and working conditions were confirmed as key areas for focus.

Anthesis completed a competitor benchmark of the driver model, which included information collected from interviews about the drivers and examined existing data from the public domain. Best practices and gaps were highlighted during this study. This supported the retailer to start rating its performance on the driver model compared to other businesses, to help set the direction for the work that would be required in the future.


The study referenced the UK labour market was facing serious medium and long-term challenges in the light of low productivity and wages, workers, the threat to jobs posed by automation, as well as the challenges of migration. Whilst the gig economy provides a potential solution to these challenges, which is created by a quick exchange of work through digital platforms, there are concerns about current working conditions and practices.

The retailer is committed to continuously improving and adapting its CSR behaviours with a focus on the driver model and standards.