National referral mechanism (NRM) review and pilots
Last updated 23/09/2021
This section tells you about the NRM review and pilots.
The interim review of the national referral mechanism for victims of human trafficking was published on 11 November 2014 and recommended that the support system for identifying and supporting victims of people trafficking should be overhauled.
The key recommendations of the report include:
- extending the NRM to cover all adult victims of modern slavery
- strengthening the first responder role – the point when potential victims are first identified and referred by creating new anti-slavery safeguarding leads, supported by increased training and feedback
- streamlining the referral process by removing the ‘reasonable grounds’ decision once the successful implementation of accredited slavery safeguarding leads has occurred – allowing direct referral to specialist support for potential victims
- establishing new multi-disciplinary panels, headed by an independent chair, with a view to ceasing the sole decision making roles of UKVI and the UK human trafficking centre (UKHTC)
- creating a single case working unit within the Home Office to replace the current caseworking units in the National Crime Agency and UK Visas and Immigration
The Home Secretary welcomed the findings of this report, which acknowledges that there is no simple, one size fits all approach. She stated that she would carefully consider all of the recommendations and set out the government’s response in the Home Office’s Strategy on modern slavery, which was published on 28 November 2014.
Future changes to the NRM
Changes to the NRM (in light of the review report above) are being piloted in West Yorkshire police force area and the South West (Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire police force areas) from 31 July 2015. If you are dealing with a case from these areas you must refer to the relevant guidance for the pilot.
What do frontline staff need to know about the pilot? (Cases identified in West Yorkshire and South West England only)
Frontline staff will need to continue to identify potential victims of modern slavery in the 2 pilot areas of West Yorkshire and the South West of England. The non-pilot process will continue to operate in the rest of the UK.
In pilot regions Slavery Safeguarding Leads (SSLs) will be responsible for the reasonable grounds decision in pilot cases. From November 2015, instead of sending the referral form to the UKHTC, frontline staff need to send it to a SSL in pilot cases.
The SSL will make the reasonable grounds decision and refer the potential victim in pilot cases for support if appropriate, including accommodation, but frontline staff should still arrange emergency medical treatment and/or emergency police assistance where appropriate.
In pilot cases involving potential child victims, the local authority will be notified by frontline staff. The SSL should confirm that this has been done.
New multi-disciplinary panels have replaced the UKHTC and UKVI Competent Authority in pilot areas and make the conclusive grounds decision on whether the person is a victim of modern slavery. They are supported by a new Case Management Unit who might contact frontline staff for further information.
The Home Office will continue to take any relevant immigration and asylum decisions in pilot and non pilot cases.
Contact details of SSLs in each location are being collated.
If you are unsure whether a location is within the pilot locations, you can check the postcode or place name of a police force area on the police website.
Which cases fall into the NRM pilot?
Cases will be referred to the NRM pilot via SSLs where either the frontline worker or the potential victims is located in one of the 2 pilot regions at the point of referral.
|Potential victim has been physically encountered by a frontline worker within one of the pilot regions.
|Potential victim has had case referred to a frontline worker within the pilot region. The frontline worker has not physically encountered the potential victim, who is located outside of the pilot region (eg Leeds asylum hub), but is the first frontline worker to identify the person as a potential victim.
|Potential victim is physically located in one of the pilot regions. They are identified by a frontline worker with responsibilities for the pilot area, who is physically located outside of the pilot area (eg the Salvation Army helpline based in Birmingham, the Cardiff asylum hub which is responsible for the South West).
||Yes - in these cases referral must still be made via an SSL within the pilot regions, not UKHTC.
|Individual encounters frontline worker in the pilot region, but then leaves the area and is identified as a potential victim by another frontline worker, also not in the pilot area (eg potential victim encounters the police in pilot area but NRM referral is not made, they leave the area and then claim asylum outside of the pilot areas when the NRM referral is made).
||No – the referral is made to UKHTC using non pilot process. The SSL is not involved.
Exclusions from the pilot process
Cases that are within immigration detention, the prison estate, or that are being managed by Home Office Criminal Caseworking Directorate will be excluded from the pilots. They should be referred to UKHTC and will continue to be managed by existing Competent Authorities within the Home Office.