Financial redress for historical child abuse in care: consultation analysis
Analysis of responses to the pre-legislative consultation on the detailed design of a statutory redress scheme for historical child abuse in care.
13. Public body (Q48–Q50)
13.1 The consultation paper outlined the proposal that the financial redress scheme should be administered and governed by a new public body which, although accountable to Scottish Ministers, will be operationally independent, in particular with regard to the Decision-making Panel and process. The views of respondents were sought on various aspects of this proposal.
Question 48: Do you agree that the financial redress scheme administration should be located in a new public body? [Yes / No] Please explain your answer.
Question 49: Do you have any views as to where the public body should be located and what it should be called? What factors should be taken into account when deciding where the public body should be?
Question 50: How can survivors be involved in the recruitment process for these posts? How should survivors be selected to take part in this process?
Around four-fifths of all respondents (83%) agreed with the proposal that a new public body should be created to administer the redress schemeKey points
- Some respondents suggested that such an arrangement would help to ensure independence and impartiality. However, support was sometimes conditional on the new body demonstrably having such features.
- However, other respondents questioned the need for a new public body, either on grounds of cost and/or because it was felt that existing organisations could offer an appropriate base for the scheme.
- There were mixed views about where the scheme administration should be based. The most common suggestions were Edinburgh, Glasgow or ‘somewhere in the Central Belt’. Another perspective, however, was that the scheme should have multiple locations, a ‘hub and spoke’ or mobile model, or a significant outreach function.
- In relation to the question of what the new public body should be called, respondents proposed both general principles and specific names. It was suggested that the views of victims / survivors should be paramount here, perhaps canvassed by means of a vote.
- There was widespread support (for the involvement of victims / survivors in the appointment of the Chair and Chief Executive of the new public body. Most commonly, respondents indicated that victims / survivors should be represented on the interview panel, but some argued for an involvement throughout the recruitment process.
The creation of a new public body to administer the scheme (Q48)
13.2 Question 48 asked respondents whether a new public body should be created to administer the financial redress scheme. There was widespread consensus on this question, with 83% overall answering ‘yes’, and a similar pattern of response among both organisations and individuals.
|Local authority / public sector partnerships||8||80%||2||20%||10||100%|
|Other public sector organisations||3||75%||1||25%||4||100%|
|Current or previous care providers||8||100%||–||0%||8||100%|
|Third sector, including survivor groups||6||86%||1||14%||7||100%|
|Legal sector organisations||5||83%||1||17%||6||100%|
|Other organisational respondents||1||100%||–||0%||1||100%|
|Total (organisations and individuals)||180||83%||37||17%||217||100%|
One individual ticked both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to this question. This response is not included in the table above.
13.3 Additional comment at Question 48 was provided by 169 respondents (132 individuals and 37 organisations).
13.4 The most common themes in these responses clustered around notions of independence, impartiality, neutrality or absence of bias. For the most part, both individual and organisation respondents welcomed the proposed new public body because they believed it would be likely to have such characteristics. However, some offered more conditional support – in other words, backing the establishment of a new public body only if it could be shown to be independent of the Scottish Government, politicians, local authorities and other vested interests.
13.5 Individuals and organisations also variously suggested that a new public body could or would offer:
- Greater transparency, accountability and fairness
- A new or ‘fresh’ approach
- A dedicated focus on redress that would benefit victims / survivors (and leave the Scottish Government free to concentrate on other issues)
- Grounds for greater trust and confidence among victims / survivors and the wider public.
13.6 In relation to this last point, some (individual) respondents argued that previous failings by the Scottish Government meant that it should not have the lead role in delivery of the redress scheme. However, others took the opposite view, suggesting that the administration of the Stage One payments, or of the scheme as a whole, should remain with the Scottish Government as this would ensure that all voices are heard. A related view was that other schemes – such as Future Pathways – have been accepted by victims / survivors despite a lack of formal independence from the Scottish Government.
13.7 Other responses – especially from organisations – called into question the need for a new public body, arguing that there is already a range of existing organisations (apart from the Scottish Government) that could offer an appropriate base for the scheme. Specific suggestions in this context included the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), or the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (which, it was suggested, has relevant expertise, and existing judicial oversight and appeals processes). Although such arguments were generally based on a positive assessment of the capabilities of existing organisations, there was also – from some individual respondents – a concern that the establishment of a new body would involve unnecessary time and expense.
13.8 A range of other comments were made, including suggestions that:
- The scheme should be managed or led by a United Nations Special Rapporteur
- The scheme should be housed in a dedicated building, offering a ‘one-stop shop’ for victims / survivors to access advice and support (this issue is discussed in detail in Chapter 14)
- The use of the term ‘public body’ might be alarming to some victims / survivors as it could be understood as implying a lack of confidentiality.
Location and name of the proposed public body (Q49)
13.9 Question 49 was a two-part open question (with no preceding tick-box question) seeking views, first, on where the proposed public body should be located and what it should be called and, second, on any factors that should be taken into account in deciding the location. As there was considerable overlap between views on where the scheme administration should be located and the factors that should be taken into account in deciding the location, responses from both parts of Question 49 are combined in the following analysis.
13.10 In total, 193 respondents (156 individuals and 37 organisations) offered a response of some kind at one or other part of this question.
13.11 Among those who expressed a view on where the scheme should be located, the most frequent suggestions (especially from individuals) were Edinburgh, Glasgow, Edinburgh or Glasgow, or simply somewhere in ‘central Scotland’ or the ‘Central Belt’. Another perspective, however, was that the scheme should have multiple locations (for instance, in Glasgow and Edinburgh, or in several major cities), a ‘hub and spoke’ or mobile model, or a significant ‘outreach’ function, in recognition of the geographically dispersed nature of the victim / survivor population. In this context, it was suggested that a single, fixed location could present a barrier to access and also reduce the scope to benefit from localised knowledge and expertise.
13.12 In terms of factors that should be taken into account in deciding location, by far the most commonly mentioned was ease of access. This was usually framed in terms of location in relation to transport (and especially public transport), and was typically associated with a view that the scheme should be based in central Scotland or a major urban centre. However, some respondents argued that precisely because of the need to ensure access, there should be multiple sites in different parts of Scotland.
13.13 Although accessibility was most frequently framed in terms of transport and location, some respondents highlighted other issues, such as wheelchair access, disabled parking spaces or the availability of a lift to every floor.
13.14 Other comments relating to the nature of the space rather than location per se included suggestions that the premises of any new public body should be discreet, private or anonymous, or otherwise geared towards ensuring that victims / survivors feel comfortable, secure and not intimidated in any face-to-face dealings with the scheme.
13.15 A range of other comments were made about the scheme location:
- Some respondents (especially individuals) argued that cost should be a significant consideration, and expressed concern about the impact of creating a new public body on the resources available for payments to victims.
- Others argued that location was unimportant, as long as the key principles of the scheme were adhered to.
- Similarly, some respondents indicated that the most important deciding factor should simply be the views of victims / survivors.
13.16 In relation to the question of what the new public body should be called, respondents proposed both general principles and specific names. For example, it was again suggested that the views of victims / survivors should be paramount, perhaps canvassed by means of a vote. Two other (potentially conflicting) suggestions were (i) that the name should be entirely transparent and (ii) that it should not include any direct reference to victims of abuse.
13.17 A large number of specific suggestions were put forward - almost all by individuals and almost none by more than one respondent. However, two main themes were evident: names that simply reflected the focus and purpose of the scheme (e.g. Child Abuse Reparation Scheme, Scottish Child Abuse Redress Panel or Scottish Child Abuse Redress Scheme (SCARS)); and names that emphasised victims / survivors (e.g. Help for Victims, Survivor Awareness, Survivor Scotland or Survivor Care Foundation). Other recurrent themes included justice and care, while specific suggestions included: Future Focus, Justice for the Misunderstood/Unheard, PRISM and The Forgotten.
Involving survivors in the recruitment process (Q50)
13.18 The consultation paper noted that the Chair and Chief Executive of the public body will be appointed through the public appointments process. Question 50 sought views on the nature of any victim / survivor involvement in this process and how individuals might be selected to take part. In total, 189 respondents (152 individuals and 37 organisations) provided a response to at least one of the two parts to this question.
13.19 In terms of the nature of any involvement in the public appointment process, the most common view – among both individuals and organisations – was that victims / survivors should be represented on the interview panel itself. Some respondents explained why they thought this was desirable – for example, citing the experience, insight and value that victims / survivors would bring to the process. Others were specific about the form of involvement, suggesting that victims / survivors should play a full part in the interview panel, asking questions and, if necessary, providing the deciding vote.
13.20 Less frequently, respondents (both individuals and organisations) envisaged a role for victims / survivors throughout the appointment process – for example, in helping to develop role specifications and job descriptions and shortlisting candidates for interview. Others suggested that the role should be more limited – perhaps advisory rather than helping to assess the competency of candidates at interview – and there was also a view that victims / survivors should have no role in the appointments process at all.
13.21 In terms of how victims / survivors should be recruited to take part in the appointments process, there was a widespread view that the role should be formally advertised, or publicised through other channels, with individuals invited to put their names forward. Some respondents suggested that existing or recognised victim / survivor groups could be asked to raise awareness of the roles, while others suggested that organisations such as the Centre for Excellence in Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) might do so. Most commonly, organisations were seen as simply communicating information, but it was occasionally suggested that they might be invited to nominate individuals to be part of the appointments process. There was also a suggestion (from organisational respondents) that individuals might be identified or recruited from the proposed Survivor Panel.
13.22 There was a relatively common view among both individuals and organisations that there should also be some kind of formal application or assessment process to identify individuals to be involved in the appointment process. Some indicated that this should be based on written applications; others suggested that it should involve an interview.
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