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How we inspect services for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery

29 January 2021
  • Public

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published details on its approach to independently inspect safehouses and outreach support provided through the new Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract (MSVCC). These services support people who are potential and confirmed victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.

CQC has been working closely with the Home Office to consider how we might help them monitor the quality of support offered to people using these services. Following co-production with stakeholders representing survivors and service providers, we piloted an independent inspection approach in 2019 and were appointed by the Home Office to begin to inspect services, starting in late January 2021.

As well as considering the five key questions that we ask of all providers of health and social care, the framework for these inspections is also based on The Slavery and Trafficking Survivor Care Standards developed by the Human Trafficking Foundation. These set out the standard of support that should be provided for those accommodated in safehouses and in outreach support following modern slavery, including how professionals should support survivors and work with referring agencies to help them.

The framework has been approved by the Home Office and shared with providers. Safehouse and outreach support inspections will be carried out using this inspection framework and with reference to the requirements set out in the MSVCC.

Inspectors are also 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), 2018.

The Health and Social Care Act allows CQC to assist other public authorities and provide scrutiny to services that are not registered with the regulator, where appropriate. While this means that CQC is not able to take enforcement action, any best practice or recommendations for improvement will be shared with the prime contractor of the MSVCC, and the Home Office.

The Salvation Army and 12 subcontractors are currently delivering safehouse and outreach support across England and Wales. We will carry out an initial independent inspection programme over an 18-month period, until June 2022.

Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care at CQC said: "I’m pleased that we have the opportunity to bring our experience of driving improvement in health and social care to this area and work with the Home Office and providers to help make sure people get the support that they deserve.”

“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.”

Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins said: “The safety and security of potential victims of modern slavery remains a key priority for the government and we are proud to provide world-leading support for victims to help them rebuild their lives.”

“I am pleased that CQC, working closely with the Home Office, are starting inspections of our modern slavery safehouses and outreach services as this will help us ensure that we are providing a high standard of care to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, CQC paused routine inspections and has focused its activity on responding to risk and supporting providers. We remain committed to being flexible in our approach as the health and care system continues to deal with the ongoing pressures.

Last updated:
29 January 2021