View of experts during the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) process
Last updated 23/09/2021
Evidence from Local Authorities and support organisations
Although police and intelligence reports can provide objective evidence to strengthen a claim, the Competent Authority must give due weight to the reports and views of the:
- Local Authority children’s services (for child victims)
- organisation supporting the individual
When the Competent Authority is deciding children’s cases it is essential that they develop good working relations with the Local Authority social workers and other practitioners who have worked on the referral.
These organisations may have spent most time with the potential victim and established a degree of trust. Exploited people often don’t trust or are afraid of the police or immigration officials. They may therefore not be willing to provide statements to law enforcement. In such circumstances non-governmental organisations may be able to provide more information on the individual’s situation and you must consider any such supporting evidence. The Competent Authority must also take into account any medical reports submitted, particularly those from qualified health practitioners.
Weight to give to expert reports
Potential victims of modern slavery may rely on documentary evidence to support their claim in the NRM.
Experience and qualifications of the individual providing the supporting evidence will be relevant in considering what weight to attach to an expert report and every case must be considered on its merits. However if there are clear, robust reasons why the reasonable or conclusive grounds test is not met, there is no requirement to accept the assessment of an expert report simply because it states the reasonable or conclusive grounds test is met.
The individual writing the report may not have access to the full range of information available to the Competent Authority and all relevant evidence, including any documentary evidence, must be considered when making a reasonable or conclusive grounds decision.
Where an expert report is considered when assessing a claim under the NRM, and other information is available, all the information and relevant reports should be considered. If there are several expert reports all must be taken into account. A decision should not rely on an expert report alone without considering all relevant information. A decision should not rely on an expert report without making independent enquiries into the potential victim’s circumstances and credibility.
Where a potential victim of modern slavery relies on medical evidence it should be from a medical practitioner who is qualified in the appropriate field including information such as the relevant physical or mental condition, when that condition has been diagnosed and why that condition or any treatment relating to it is relevant to human trafficking or modern slavery.
Any evidence supplied must be capable of being verified by the Competent Authority where appropriate.