1.1 The Advance Payment Scheme provides acknowledgement and recognition, by means of a financial payment and an apology, to those who suffered abuse in care in Scotland before December 2004, and who either have a terminal illness or are age 70 or over. As an outcome of this review the eligible age threshold has been lowered to age 68 or over.
1.2 The Advance Payment Scheme was one of a number of commitments given by the Deputy First Minister in his statement to Parliament in October 2018. Based on recommendations from an earlier consultation with survivors, he committed to establishing a statutory redress scheme, with legislation to be passed before the end of March 2021, subject to the approval of Parliament. There was also a commitment to make Advance Payments to those who may not live long enough to apply to the statutory scheme.
1.3 The Advance Payment Scheme opened on 25 April 2019 and was designed and launched within 6 months of the announcement. It is intended that it will remain open until the statutory redress scheme is operational. The focus throughout has been to deliver Advance Payments and provide recognition and acknowledgment in a sensitive and trauma informed way. The application process was designed to be as straightforward as possible, whilst ensuring robust procedures for the use of public funds.
1.4 The initial recommendation for advance payments included an early review of the age threshold:
"We recommend that a review of applications is undertaken at 3 months and continuously thereafter. If there are a limited number of applications over this timescale, we recommend that the age criterion is revisited and if necessary, lowered to be made more inclusive". (Inter-Action Plan Review Group recommendations, September 2018)
1.5 This review fulfils that recommendation and includes the following sections: