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Home Office digitises slavery referral process

04/09/19

UKA Correspondent

A new system to simplify and speed up referrals of potential victims of modern slavery for government support has been rolled out by the Home Office.

It said the fully digitised system will simplify the process that first responders – including police officers, social workers or immigration officials – follow when referring victims of modern slavery to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

Until now, they have used paper forms to refer victims for support through the NRM. Under the new system, rolled out last week, the process is digitised at the point of referral.

Further reforms to be rolled out shortly will also digitise the system used by caseworkers in the Single Competent Authority.

Victoria Atkins

Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins (pictured) said: “Modern slavery is a truly abhorrent crime and the government is committed to stamping it out wherever it occurs.

“These reforms will simplify the entire referral process, meaning that victims of modern slavery can receive the support they need sooner and abusers can be brought to justice more quickly.”

The move is part of a wider package of measures to speed up and improve NRM decision-making. In April, the Home Office launched a new Single Competent Authority to handle all cases referred from front line staff and to make decisions about whether somebody is a victim of modern slavery.

In February the minimum period of support for confirmed victims was increased to 90 days, and the Government is in the process of implementing a range of other reforms to the NRM. And in April, the Home Office introduced new independent panels to scrutinise negative “conclusive grounds” decisions – decisions which find that people are not considered to be victims of modern slavery – made by the Single Competent Authority, to provide greater transparency to the decision-making process.

Image from Parliament UK, CC BY 3.0

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