CQC to inspect services that support victims of human trafficking and modern slavery

The Care Quality Commission has published details on its approach to independently inspect services supporting people who are potential and confirmed victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will inspect safehouses and outreach support services provided to victims of modern slavery, following an appointment by the Home Office to begin inspections in late January 2021.

The regulator will monitor the quality of support services on a framework based on The Slavery and Trafficking Survivor Care Standards developed by the Human Trafficking Foundation.

The regulator says the framework sets out the standard of support that should be provided for victims of modern slavery or trafficking accommodated in safehouses and in outreach support, including how professionals should support survivors and work with referring agencies to help them.

Inspectors will use the framework in addition to their professional judgement, supported by objective measures and evidence, to assess a service against the five key questions that the CQC asks of all services: Are they safe? Are they effective? Are they caring? Are they responsive to people’s needs? Are they well-led?

The Salvation Army and 12 subcontractors are currently delivering safehouse and outreach support across England and Wales, as part of the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract (MSVCC). The contract, part of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), ensures the safeguarding and protection of victims of modern slavery.

Inspectors will also be given an understanding of how to work with survivors in a way that is trauma-informed and led by The Trauma Informed Code of Conduct (TiCC), the regulator says.

The CQC can assist other public authorities and provide scrutiny to services that are not registered with the regulator where appropriate but is not able to take enforcement action. However, the regulator says any best practice or recommendations for improvement will be shared with the prime contractor of the MSVCC, and the Home Office.

Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care at CQC said: “These are vital services for people who have been through a great deal, continue to be vulnerable and have the same right to high quality, compassionate care that we all do.

“Establishing a robust view of care and support across services and a continued commitment from providers to learn from each other and address any issues will be essential to providing this support.”

A spokesperson for Unseen UK, a charity working with victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, said they welcomed the introduction of the inspections, something they have been urging for the last 10 years.

The initial independent inspection programme will be carried out over an 18-month period, until June 2022.

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