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Question for Home Office

UIN HL13907, tabled on 4 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to strengthen the National Referral Mechanism for identifying and referring potential victims of modern slavery; and if so, how.

Answered on

18 March 2021

We have introduced a series of reforms to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) since 2017 to improve the identification and support of potential victims of modern slavery.

To achieve quicker and more certain decision-making a new Single Competent Authority (SCA) was launched in April 2019 to handle all NRM cases and provide high quality, timely decisions for victims. Independent Multi-Agency Assurance Panels were also set up to review all negative conclusive grounds decisions on cases referred directly to the SCA, adding an additional level of scrutiny to such cases.

A new digital referral system was also launched in 2019 to support the NRM process, making it easier for those on the front line to refer victims into support by providing a single point for referrals across the UK.

In July 2020, the Home Office produced an e-learning module to help First Responders identify potential victims of modern slavery and make referrals into the NRM when appropriate to do so. We are committed to working with First Responder Organisations to ensure they have the right training and tools to identify potential victims.

Building on the successes of this work, we are now taking a fresh look at the system to ensure it delivers on its objectives through the NRM Transformation Programme. This Programme will introduce a series of changes to ensure victims have their cases settled promptly, receive support tailored to their recovery needs from the outset, and are empowered to move on with their lives. We also intend to streamline the decision-making process through operational improvements so that victims are identified at the earliest stage and receive the right kind of support at the right time, ensuring decisions taken are robust, effective and meaningful.

Additionally, we are seeking to test an alternative decision-making model for children, to empower local authorities with responsibility for children’s social care to make decisions about whether children are victims of modern slavery in conjunction with local safeguarding partners.

Answered by

Home Office