97. The Scottish Government has considered fully the views expressed by stakeholders in written consultation responses and at the consultation events. In particular, the views of survivors' of abuse in care have been given careful consideration.
98. The responses to the consultation on the National Confidential Forum has contributed significantly to the development of Scottish Government policy in shaping the proposed purpose, role and scope of the Forum.
99. The Scottish Government accepted all six recommendations in the TTBH Report concerned with the establishment and operation of a National Confidential Forum, including that legislation should be introduced to underpin it. The experience of TTBH highlights the implications of an acknowledgment forum not having a legislative underpinning, including that important protections could not be offered to participants. The TTBH Report concludes that "it is essential that any future forum be established on a statutory basis… thus providing necessary protections for both the participants and staff of the forum."
100. In light of the experience of TTBH, the Scottish Government intends to bring forward legislation in the Scottish Parliament in the early part of 2013 to establish the National Confidential Forum. Primary legislation will enable:-
- The functions of the National Confidential Forum to be set out in a clear and distinct way, the main function being to offer adults placed in institutional care as children the opportunity of acknowledgement of their experiences of that care, including experiences of abuse.
- The scope of the National Confidential Forum to be defined to enable all adults placed in institutional care as children the opportunity to participate in hearings of the Forum.
- The testimony of persons who participate in hearings of the National Confidential Forum to be protected from disclosure and those persons to be protected from the threat of action of defamation as a result of the testimony they give to the Forum.
- The arrangements by which the NCF is to be hosted by an existing public body to be clearly set out, including the mechanisms to safeguard the operational autonomy of the Forum.
101. In taking forward primary legislation to establish the National Confidential Forum, the Scottish Government will continue to draw on the experience and expertise of members of the Reference Group. In order to ensure that the voice of survivors is intrinsic to this process, the Scottish Government will work with members of the Survivor Stakeholder Group and survivor organisations to ensure their full participation.
Email: Julie Muir