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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-the-national-referral-mechanism-for-victims-of-human-trafficking/pilot-evaluating-the-proposed-reforms-to-the-national-referral-mechanism
Ministers have appointed independent chairs to lead multi-disciplinary panels as part of a 12 month pilot of reforms to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for identifying victims of modern slavery.
The NRM is the process by which potential victims of modern slavery, including human trafficking, are identified and provided with support. In April 2014, the Home Secretary commissioned a review of the NRM to establish whether it:
- provides an effective and efficient means of supporting and identifying potential victims of human trafficking
- should be extended to cover victims of other forms of modern slavery
The final report of the review of the NRM was published on 12 November 2014. Its main recommendations were to:
- extend the NRM to cover all adult victims of modern slavery
- strengthen the first responder role - the point when potential victims are first identified and referred - by creating new Anti-Slavery Safeguarding Leads, allowing direct referral to specialist support
- establish new multi-disciplinary panels, headed by independent chairs, to ensure that decision-making on cases was extended beyond UK Visas and Immigration and the UK Human Trafficking Centre in the National Crime Agency
- create a single case working unit within the Home Office to replace the current units in UK Visas and Immigration and the National Crime Agency
The Home Secretary welcomed the findings of this report. She set out the government’s response in the Home Office’s modern slavery strategy, which was published on 28 November 2014.
In the strategy, the government committed to extending the support offered through the NRM, including accommodation and subsistence, to potential victims of all forms of modern slavery in England and Wales. This was put into place on 31 July 2015.
The Home Office is also working with operational agencies and non-governmental organisations to pilot changes to the NRM that would bring into effect other recommendations made by the NRM review. The pilot was launched in August 2015. It will operate in 2 locations: the West Yorkshire police force area, and the South West (Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire police force areas).
Following a fair and open process, adhering to the principles of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, ministers have appointed Colin Chapman, Fiona Cunningham and John Clements to chair the multi-disciplinary panels over the duration of the 12 month pilot. They have been appointed for initial 1 year terms, starting on 5 October 2015. The pilot is due to end in July 2016, at which point ministers will consider its evaluation and next steps.