The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a review of services offered to support people who are potential victims of human trafficking and modern slavery.
At the request of the Home Office, CQC has been providing independent, external scrutiny of safehouse and outreach support in England and Wales. These services are provided through the new Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract (MSVCC).
Inspectors found many areas of good practice, with services meeting contractual standards and being run by enthusiastic, caring and compassionate people. There were also examples of services providing support outside of the MSVCC to offer additional personalised care based on people’s needs.
The programme also highlighted areas for improvement. These included issues regarding identifying and managing risks in services. As a result, CQC made recommendations for all those involved in commissioning and providing safehouse and outreach services to improve the experiences of the people who use them. These included:
• considering the best way to manage of out-of-hours admissions and night-time admissions, to minimise risks to both survivors and staff
• giving special consideration to reviewing records and case management systems to clearly identify and understand the needs of dependent children and any associated risks.
After working with stakeholders representing survivors and service providers, an inspection approach was piloted in 2019 and inspections for this programme were carried out between January 2021 and June 2022.
As these services are not registered with or regulated by CQC, we are not able to take enforcement action. Individual inspection reports are shared with the provider and Home Office. However, to protect people using services these cannot be published. When we make recommendations as part of this inspection programme, The Salvation Army (TSA) as Prime Contractor is responsible for taking action and delivering the necessary improvements. This is then managed by the Home Office under contractual mechanisms.
The Home Office has recently extended the memorandum of understanding with CQC to inspect safehouse and outreach support provision in England and Wales, up to the end of March 2023.
This means that more recent activity has included revisiting some services to check improvements against our recommendations, as well as responding to new and emerging risks.