Publication - Consultation analysis

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.

177 page PDF

1.5 MB

177 page PDF

1.5 MB

Contents
Financial redress for historical child abuse in care: consultation analysis
14. Wider reparations (Q51–Q55)

177 page PDF

1.5 MB

14. Wider reparations (Q51–Q55)

14.1 Part 2.3 of the consultation paper discussed the possibility of bringing together the administration of financial redress with other forms of reparation (including, for example, acknowledgement, apology and support). It highlighted some of the potential benefits for survivors who want or need wider reparation, including (i) having a single point of contact for both the financial redress scheme and wider reparation, and (ii) facilitating integration, efficiency and effectiveness in service provision. The consultation included five questions on the subject of the administration of wider reparations.

Question 51: What are your views on bringing together the administration of other elements of a reparation package such as support and acknowledgement with financial redress? What would be the advantages? Would there be any disadvantages, and if so, how might these be addressed?

Question 52: Do you agree that it would be beneficial if the administration of these elements were located in the same physical building? What would be the advantages? Would there be any disadvantages, and if so, how might these be addressed?

Question 53: Should wider reparation be available to everyone who meets the eligibility criteria for the financial redress scheme? [Yes / No] Please explain your answer.

Question 54: Should there be priority access to wider reparation for certain groups, for example elderly and ill? [Yes / No] Please explain your answer.

Question 55: If a person is eligible for redress, should they have the same or comparable access to other elements of reparation whether they live in Scotland or elsewhere? [Yes / No] Please explain your answer.

There was widespread consensus among individuals and organisations that bringing together the administration of financial redress and wider reparations would be helpful. Those supporting such an arrangement thought it would offer benefits in terms of a single point of contact, better signposting and ease of access for survivors to the full range of practical and emotional supports available. However, perceived disadvantages included the possibility of conflicts of interest between the different parts of the administrative service, and data protection issues. There was a view that any potential benefits which could result from joint administrative arrangements must be shown to outweigh the risks of disrupting the existing mix of local and national provision.

Key points

  • Individuals generally thought it would be beneficial for the administration of financial redress and wider reparations to be located in the same building. They emphasised the benefits to survivors of having a single point of contact and thought that co-location would offer greater efficiency, reduced running costs, and better communication. However, there were some concerns about the potential difficulties for survivors who may not be able to travel long distances due to poor health. Organisations had more mixed views on this issue and did not always think that co-location was necessary given the availability of video technology.
  • Respondents were almost unanimously in favour of wider reparations being available to everyone who meets the eligibility criteria for the redress scheme (97% overall expressed this view). Respondents commented that (i) financial reparation may not be the only – or best – answer for all survivors, (ii) it should be up to individuals to decide which parts of the scheme they want to access, and (iii) making wider reparation available to everyone who is eligible for financial redress ensures equity and fairness.
  • There was also strong support (93% overall) for priority access to wider reparations being given to certain groups (for example, the elderly and ill). Respondents thought that individuals with life-shortening illnesses, and those who are elderly, should be given the best opportunity to achieve ‘closure’ before they die. Some respondents argued that, if not prioritised, these groups may not benefit from wider reparation at all.
  • In general, respondents agreed (86% overall; 86% of individuals and 90% of organisations) that wider reparations should be available to any person eligible for a redress payment, even if they no longer lived in Scotland. However, respondents also frequently acknowledged that it would be logistically challenging to provide access to support services to survivors living outside of Scotland.

Joint administration of financial redress and wider reparations (Q51)

14.2 Question 51 invited views on the option of bringing together the administration of other elements of a reparation package (such as support and acknowledgement) with financial redress. Respondents were asked what the advantages and disadvantages of this type of approach would be, and how any disadvantages could be addressed. This was an open question in three parts covering: (i) general views, (ii) advantages and (iii) disadvantages. Altogether, 193 respondents (151 individuals and 42 organisations) addressed one or more of the three parts of this question.

14.3 There was widespread consensus among individuals and organisations that bringing together the administration of financial redress and wider reparations would be helpful. Respondents repeatedly described this proposal as ‘a good idea’. Some said it ‘made sense’, was ‘logical’ and would be ‘more efficient’.

14.4 Those supporting such an arrangement thought it would offer a single point of contact, enabling better signposting and making it easier for victims / survivors to access the full range of practical and emotional supports available. They also thought it would offer a more holistic, ‘joined-up’, consistent and effective approach to the delivery of financial redress and wider reparations. Individuals often referred to this type of arrangement as a ‘one stop shop’, and thought it would ‘cut red tape’ and make the process less complicated and confusing for people to access the support they need. Some individuals saw a further advantage in terms of supporting better communication between the different aspects of the redress scheme. Organisations additionally highlighted potential ‘economies of scale’ and administrative efficiencies. Some respondents (and particularly individuals) said that they could see no disadvantages from this type of arrangement, and it was suggested that this type of model has been tried and tested.

14.5 Other respondents did identify possible disadvantages. Among those who were generally supportive of joint administrative arrangements – and also among the handful of respondents who did not support joint administrative arrangements – the potential disadvantages were seen to be the following:

  • A combined service might be cumbersome, result in conflicts of interest, or lead to a perception that decisions about financial redress are too closely connected to decisions about wider reparations.
  • There is a risk of confusing people – and inadvertently excluding them from either strand of the scheme (i.e. financial redress or wider reparation), particularly if individuals are disappointed with their experience with one of the strands.
  • There might be data protection and confidentiality risks for survivors who do not want their information to be shared between different bodies and did not consent to sharing when they accessed services before the financial redress scheme was established.
  • Current relationships with valued local support organisations and local authority social work departments might be disrupted and funding for these existing organisations put at risk. It may also be difficult to find suitably qualified staff to meet the substantial demands on the service at the start of the scheme.

14.6 Not all respondents who identified disadvantages went on to say how the disadvantages could be addressed or avoided. However, some of the suggestions offered were as follows:

  • Establish a board representing the interests of survivors and the organisations contributing to the scheme to provide oversight of the joint administrative arrangements. Alternatively, have an independent person to oversee the arrangements.
  • Provide clear explanations (potentially including a telephone helpline and a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs)) to assist victims / survivors to make informed decisions and choices, and also to manage their expectations.
  • Provide long-term financial support to specialist services that are identified as meeting the needs of individual victims / survivors.
  • Carefully manage the transition from current arrangements to ensure that existing skills and goodwill are retained and that the impact of disruption is carefully balanced against the potential benefits of joint administration.

14.7 Among the small number of respondents who did not support joint administration of financial redress and wider reparation, the point was made that, ultimately, individuals live in local communities and will benefit most from being linked into a local, accessible support network. There was a view that any potential benefits that could result from joint administrative arrangements must be shown to outweigh the risks of disrupting the existing mix of local and national provision.

Co-location of administration for all aspects of the scheme (Q52)

14.8 Question 52 asked respondents for their views about whether it would be beneficial for the administration of financial redress and wider reparations to be located in the same physical building. Respondents were asked what the advantages and disadvantages of co-location would be, and how any disadvantages could be addressed. Again, this was an open question in three parts covering: (i) general views, (ii) advantages and (iii) disadvantages. Altogether, 201 respondents (163 individuals and 38 organisations) addressed one or more parts of this question.

14.9 Among individuals, the most common response to the first part of this question was the single word, ‘yes’, or variations thereof (e.g. ‘absolutely’, ‘agree’). Occasionally, some in this group were less definitive, answering ‘possibly’, or ‘probably’. Less often, individuals answered ‘don’t know’ (or ‘not sure’), or – very occasionally – ‘no’. Where those who answered ‘yes’ provided further comment, they generally emphasised the benefits to survivors of having a single point of contact (‘one stop shop’, ‘less confusing’, etc.). They also thought that co-location of administrative functions would offer greater efficiency, reduced running costs, and better communication between the different strands of the redress scheme. Those who answered ‘no’ raised concerns about the difficulties for victims / survivors who may not be able to travel long distances due to poor health. There were suggestions that, if the administration of all aspects of the scheme were located in the same physical building, that this should be accessible by public transport with assistance offered for travel expenses. It was also suggested that mobile services / outreach workers could be used to travel to survivors, rather than expecting all survivors to travel to the administration offices.

14.10 Organisations had more mixed and nuanced views on this question. These ranged from (i) yes, co-location will lead to the best service, to (ii) yes, but this is not essential and / or not necessary due to current technology (e.g. video- and tele-conferencing facilities), to (iii) no, they do not have to be based in the same building as current technology makes this unnecessary. It was also relatively common for organisations of all types to say that they did not have a view on this question or had decided not to answer the question.

14.11 The main advantages of co-location identified by organisations related to consistency, collaboration and communication (a more ‘joined-up’ approach); economies of scale; and overall reduced costs.

14.12 Few organisations identified disadvantages of this type of arrangement. The main ones related to possible inconvenience for survivors who live in rural areas / at a distance from the location of the administrative offices – and the fact that access to support services would be more difficult for those living at a distance from the central offices. The point was also made that some victims / survivors may prefer to discuss their needs for wider reparation and support in a more informal (less institutional) environment – away from the location dealing with their application for financial redress. There were also concerns about (i) the impact on individuals who are denied redress, and the risk that this may be compounded by not being able to access further support, and (ii) whether one physical building would have the capacity to respond to the likely scale of support required.

14.13 Very occasionally, organisations identified possible administrative disadvantages of co-location. These related to higher initial start-up costs and the broader range of executive management responsibilities that would be required if both aspects of the redress scheme were jointly administered and located together.

Eligibility for wider reparations (Q53)

14.14 Question 53 asked whether wider reparations should be available to everyone who meets the eligibility criteria for the redress scheme. Table 14.1 shows that respondents as a whole were almost unanimously in favour of this, with 97% overall answering ‘yes’. All organisations supported the proposal and only a small number of individuals expressed disagreement.

Table 14.1: Q53 – Should wider reparation be available to everyone who meets the eligibility criteria for the financial redress scheme?
Respondent type Yes No Total
n % n % n %
Local authority / public sector partnerships 10 100% 0% 10 100%
Other public sector organisations 2 100% 0% 2 100%
Current or previous care providers 7 100% 0% 7 100%
Third sector, including survivor groups 6 100% 0% 6 100%
Legal sector organisations 4 100% 0% 4 100%
Other organisational respondents 2 100% 0% 2 100%
Total organisations 31 100% 0% 31 100%
Individual respondents 159 96% 6 4% 165 100%
Total (organisations and individuals) 190 97% 6 3% 196 100%

One individual ticked both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to this question. This response is not included in the table above.

14.15 Altogether, 135 respondents (104 individuals and 31 organisations) provided comments at Question 53.

14.16 This group made a number of related points, specifically, that (i) financial reparation may not be the only – or best – answer for all survivors, (ii) it should be up to individuals to decide which parts of the scheme they want to access, and (iii) making wider reparation available to everyone who is eligible for financial redress ensures equity and fairness.

14.17 However, some organisations made a slightly different point – that the financial scheme should not be a gateway for applying for other forms of redress. These respondents argued that support should begin from the point at which an individual makes an initial inquiry and be available (if desired) in preparing the application for financial redress. It was also suggested that it should not be necessary to meet the eligibility criteria for financial redress to benefit from wider reparations such as mental health and psychological support.

14.18 Some of the individuals who answered ‘no’ at Question 53 also made further comments. However, the points made were not always clear or directly related to the question about eligibility for wider reparation – suggesting that some of this group may not have understood the question. Two related points were made: that wider reparations may not be needed or welcomed by victims / survivors, and should only be available to individuals if they are requested.

Priority access to reparation for certain groups (Q54)

14.19 Question 54 asked whether certain groups (for example, the elderly and ill) should be given priority access to wider reparations. Respondents strongly supported this suggestion, with 93% overall answering ‘yes’. The pattern of response was similar among organisations and individuals.

Table 14.2: Q54 – Should there be priority access to wider reparation for certain groups, for example elderly and ill?
Respondent type Yes No Total
n % n % n %
Local authority / public sector partnerships 10 91% 1 9% 11 100%
Other public sector organisations 3 100% 0% 3 100%
Current or previous care providers 7 88% 1 13% 8 100%
Third sector, including survivor groups 7 100% 0% 7 100%
Legal sector organisations 2 100% 0% 2 100%
Other organisational respondents 2 100% 0% 2 100%
Total organisations 31 94% 2 6% 33 100%
Individual respondents 183 93% 13 7% 196 100%
Total (organisations and individuals) 214 93% 15 7% 229 100%

One individual ticked both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to this question. This response is not included in the table above.

14.20 Altogether, 160 respondents (127 individuals and 33 organisations) provided further comments at Question 54.

Support for prioritising those who are elderly or ill

14.21 The main reason given by those who answered ‘yes’ to this question – both among individuals and organisations – was that individuals with life-shortening illnesses, and those who are elderly, should be given the best opportunity to achieve ‘closure’ before they die. Some respondents argued that, if not prioritised, these groups may not benefit from wider reparation at all. Respondents thought that prioritising these groups would allow for reparations to improve their quality of life without delay. The point was also made that it is appropriate to expedite reparation for groups that have lived with the impact of historical abuse for the longest period of time, and for groups that are likely to find it harder to pursue their rights to wider reparation.

14.22 Respondents often referred to the Advance Payment Scheme and suggested that access to wider reparations for these groups was entirely consistent with this, and with human rights standards.[12] There were calls for ‘fast-track’ arrangements to be put in place for any individual in these groups and for the prioritisation of these groups to be stated clearly in any operating standards for the redress scheme.

Opposition to prioritising those who are elderly or ill for wider reparations

14.23 Two organisations answered ‘no’ to Question 54 but the reasons given for this response were not entirely clear. One argued that prioritisation of these groups for wider reparation should be covered under the Advance Payment Scheme. The second thought that these groups should be given ‘priority access’, but not to ‘wider reparation’, which (in their view) should be assessed in the ‘standard way’.

14.24 Among the individuals who answered ‘no’ to Question 54, the main reason given related to equity and fairness. These respondents thought that if some groups were prioritised over others, then certain groups would always be ‘at the back of the queue’. There was also a view that being elderly or ill does not necessarily mean that a person has less time to live. This group argued that all cases should be considered of equal importance and that wider reparations should be available for all, at any time.

Views on other priority groups

14.25 Respondents sometimes identified other groups that they considered should be given priority access to wider reparation. These included:

  • Anyone over the age of 70 (some said anyone over 60)
  • Anyone who has immediate needs relating to health, living circumstances or wellbeing
  • Those with significant challenges in managing their mental health, including those who are at risk of suicide
  • People with substance abuse problems and those who are homeless.

14.26 More generally, respondents thought that any vulnerable survivors should be prioritised for wider reparations.

Other views on the prioritisation of certain groups for wider reparations

14.27 Occasionally, respondents made other points which were relevant to the prioritisation of certain groups for wider reparations:

  • The term ‘elderly’ should not be used and should be replaced with the term ‘older people’.
  • It is important to be transparent about the reasons for prioritising any particular group over another, and to agree these arrangements in consultation with victims / survivors.
  • Each person applying for wider reparations should have their needs and context assessed appropriately.

Wider reparations for those no longer living in Scotland (Q55)

14.28 Question 55 asked whether an individual eligible for a redress payment should have the same access to wider reparations, whether or not they live in Scotland. Table 14.3 shows that respondents generally thought they should – with 86% overall answering ‘yes’. Individuals were more likely than organisations to express disagreement on this issue (14% vs 10%, respectively).

Table 14.3: Q55 – If a person is eligible for redress, should they have the same or comparable access to other elements of reparation whether they live in Scotland or elsewhere?
Yes No Total
Respondent type n % n % n %
Local authority / public sector partnerships 7 78% 2 22% 9 100%
Other public sector organisations 3 100% 0% 3 100%
Current or previous care providers 7 88% 1 13% 8 100%
Third sector, including survivor groups 7 100% 0% 7 100%
Legal sector organisations 2 100% 0% 2 100%
Other organisational respondents 2 100% 0% 2 100%
Total organisations 28 90% 3 10% 31 100%
Individual respondents 157 86% 26 14% 183 100%
Total (organisations and individuals) 185 86% 29 14% 214 100%

Two individuals ticked both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to this question. These responses are not included in the table above.

14.29 Altogether, 164 respondents (131 individuals and 33 organisations) provided additional comments.

Support for access to reparation for those no longer living in Scotland

14.30 Respondents who answered ‘yes’ to Question 55 largely agreed that if an individual was abused as a child in care in Scotland, and was therefore eligible for redress, they should also have access to wider reparations, even if they no longer live in Scotland. In general, respondents thought this was fair. Both individuals and organisations argued that a person’s current location should not be a barrier to accessing reparations. Individuals added that some survivors may have left Scotland because of the abuse they had experienced, and that ‘justice should have no boundaries’. The case was made that access to wider reparations should not be based on residency or financial contributions such as tax or national insurance; rather, supports should be provided because an individual suffered harm in Scotland whilst in the care of the state.

14.31 At the same time, organisations frequently acknowledged the challenges of providing access to support services for individuals living outside of Scotland. In their comments, organisations often said that whilst they agreed in principle that access to wider reparation should be available to anyone eligible for it, in practice it might be very difficult to achieve because supports available in other countries are not under the control of any Scottish public service or authority. There was a view that survivors living in other countries should be supported and, if necessary, given funding to access services identified and agreed to meet their needs in the country in which they live.

14.32 However, occasionally organisations highlighted caveats to their agreement in principle. For example, there were suggestions that:

  • Survivors in other countries should have comparable access to seeking an apology and tracing records. However, the broader range of supports relating to employment, education, and benefits advice should not be included in the scope of this assistance for individuals now living in other countries.
  • Wider reparations to individuals living outside of Scotland should be provided on a case-by-case basis.
  • Services should be made available in Scotland, and access to these services could be provided through appropriate technology.

14.33 There was also a suggestion that Scotland should learn from the experience of other historical abuse inquiries in relation to this issue.

Opposition to access for those no longer living in Scotland

14.34 Organisations and individuals who answered ‘no’ at Question 55 gave different reasons for disagreeing with access to wider reparations for those no longer living in Scotland.

14.35 Organisations said that it would be too difficult to deliver the full suite of wider reparations to survivors living in other countries.

14.36 Individuals made a number of recurring points: that (i) it would be financially and logistically impractical to deliver wider reparations to survivors living in other countries; (ii) people living in Scotland should have priority; (iii) since the redress scheme will be funded by Scotland’s tax payers, it should only be available to people who live in Scotland; and (iv) survivors living in other countries should seek support from the local services in those countries.


Contact

Email: redress@gov.scot