Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 section 38: consultation analysis

This report provides an analysis of responses to our consultation on section 38 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 on the duty to notify and provide information about victims.

Annex 3: Pilots

In February 2018 a local trial implementation of the duty to notify process began with the City of Edinburgh Council and the National Human Trafficking Unit (NHTU) at Police Scotland.

City of Edinburgh Council delivered substantial training and awareness raising activity with staff in a range of contexts, and established a small coordination team for routing duty to notify referrals to the police.

Police Scotland developed an online portal for these referrals.

Monthly meetings between the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council were held to monitor progress. After the first three months of the trial implementation, a decision was made to extend the trial to provide a more robust evidence base before national implementation of the duty.

There were two early referrals but these proved not to be cases of human trafficking and/or exploitation. There were no further referrals. While low level of referrals would be in line with reporting levels from local authorities in England under their equivalent duty, reasons for the lack of referrals were explored to improve identification in future roll-out. Initial thoughts were that this may be because of a lack of awareness amongst staff about new processes to follow, a downward trend in victims being recovered in Edinburgh or that as concerns were already raised through other well established channels they may not fall under the scope of duty to notify.

The pilot was extended in September 2018 to include Border Force at Glasgow Airport and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority. Over the next year 54 referrals were submitted to the NHTU from Border Force.  No referrals were received from GLAA. This has allowed the notification process to be tested.

The key aims of the pilots were to:

  • To test out the process and types of information to be collected through the Duty;
  • To establish the impact on staff completing the referrals;
  • To estimate the volume of referrals;
  • To establish the frequency of referrals received by Police Scotland;
  • To test the quality of referrals received by Police Scotland;
  • To test the ease of recording the information by Police Scotland and extrapolating it to comply with section 38(4) of the Act (passing information onto a third party);
  • To test the frequency that information will be passed on by Police Scotland; and
  • To establish the resources required by Police Scotland to manage all aspects of the Duty

At the close of the consultation the Scottish Government met with the City of Edinburgh Council, Border Force and the NHTU to evaluate the pilots.

Key Learning and Feedback provided was:

  • Corporate buy in and proper investment will be required when the duty comes into force;
  • Messaging around the duty needs to be clear to ensure it is interpreted correctly;
  • No financial or IT costs/resources were incurred for the pilots;
  • Staff time required to deliver training and raising awareness sessions was quite substantial within City of Edinburgh Council;
  • Staff time required to submit referrals on the online portal was manageable for the number of referrals submitted.  This may not be the case once the duty comes into force;
  • Raising awareness has to be a repeated process to change behaviour and attitudes;
  • Consideration of who will be expected to comply with the duty is needed.  Are social workers the right people as they are not usually the first point of contact a victim may have with a local authority worker (e.g. concierge staff, bin refuse collector, environmental wardens);
  • Frustration by some front line staff in Border Force that the information that was being used was very sanitised;
  • Concerns around the sharing of personal information in terms of data protection legislation;
  • The online portal was not user friendly due to login processes and lack of help/guidance for filling in fields;
  • No call markers on police systems to know if 101 calls were being used at the same time as the pilots were being carried out to allow a comparison of use/preferred method of reporting; and
  • Reviewing the process as the pilot continued allowed changes to be made to improve the process



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