So on Tuesday our local MP Caroline Lucas asked a question with several aspects for Slavery issues. Sadly the answer from the Government appears to be very inadequate. So the starting point of the question was “To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 28 February 2023 to Question 148612 on Slavery” and it was clear that several people were not happy with that question at the time. However it is useful to list that previous question and answer below before listing the question and answer from Tuesday. We clearly need to endorse Caroline for revisiting this theme and it is also vital to find a way to assist her with these questions and to challenge the Government. So here is the one from February 28th.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to reinstate the multi agency assurance panels overseeing the work of the national referral mechanism for victims of modern slavery; and if she will make a statement.
Robert Jenrick: Multi-Agency Assurance Panels (MAAPs) were introduced in April 2019, their purpose being to review negative Conclusive Grounds decisions in the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) prior to the service of a decision.
On account of the ongoing pressure on the times taken to make decisions in the NRM, we decided to remove the MAAPs from the decision-making timeline in December. The Government remains committed to identifying and supporting victims of modern slavery and it is our intention that the assurance function provided by MAAPs will be replaced with a remodelled assurance process. This will aim to continue to drive improvements in NRM decision-making in a way that does not add time to service of outcomes.
And here is the one from Tuesday.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 28 February 2023 to Question 148612 on Slavery, how the assurance function of the Multi-Agency Assurance Panels (MAAPs) is being carried out; what the timeline for the introduction of the remodelled assurance process is; if he will make it his policy to temporarily reinstate the MAAPs while the remodelled process is being developed; and if he will make a statement.
Robert Jenrick: To reduce decision making delays in the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), MAAPs were removed from the process in December 2022
All negative reasonable grounds and conclusive grounds decisions continue to require a second pair of eyes review by another caseworker or manager and the Competent Authorities continue to undertake internal assurance of both positive and negative Reasonable Grounds and Conclusive Grounds decisions.
The Home Office continues to give consideration towards an alternative process that can provide appropriate assurance and drive further improvements to NRM decision making in such a way that does not add time to service of outcomes.