SEFTON SCP Safeguarding Policies and Procedures Online Manual

    Next steps for the Competent Authority if a Reasonable Grounds decision is suspended

    Last updated 23/09/2021

    In a small proportion of cases people who are being processed through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) will go missing. Competent Authority staff in the Home Office and UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) must, however, still make a decision on the case and copy it to all relevant parties if sufficient information is available to make the decision.

    If someone who has claimed asylum goes missing it may be appropriate to treat their claim as withdrawn. See the Asylum Instruction, ‘Withdrawing asylum claims’ for further details.

    In cases where human trafficking or modern slavery indicators are present but are insufficient to reach the standard of proof of reasonable grounds, and it is not possible to gather more information because the individual is missing, the Competent Authority must take the following actions:

    Action 1: report the potential victim of human trafficking or modern slavery as a vulnerable missing person to the police and arrange for a missing person marker to be added to the police national computer (PNC).

    Action 2: notify the following that the case has been suspended:

    • first responder
    • the support provider (all supported adult and family cases) (and the Salvation Army if support was being provided in England and Wales)
    • the Local Authority (in the case of children)

    Action 3: if the potential victim is the subject of criminal proceedings, several agencies need to be notified as soon as the reasonable grounds decision is suspended.

    The Competent Authority must ensure that the police (National Human Trafficking Unit in Scotland) are notified of the suspended reasonable grounds decision as soon as they make it.

    Generally the Competent Authority should ask the police to notify prosecutors (the Crown Prosecution Service (or the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscals Service in Scotland or Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland) of the suspended reasonable grounds decision as soon as they make it.

    Home Office action only:
    Only Home Office staff must:

    • register the case as a ‘PVoT suspended absconder’ on CID
    • ensure that the case has been flagged on CID as having had the issue of human trafficking or modern slavery raised so the person is recognised as potentially at risk if they are encountered again

    See the link to the non-compliance and absconder process instruction for further information.