7 Conclusions and recommendations
7.1 This review has taken account of the first five months of the operation of the Advance Payment Scheme and has considered application numbers and scheme performance, the application form and guidance, the process of obtaining a written record showing time spent in care in Scotland, and feedback received to date.
7.2 The main conclusion of the review is that the age threshold for scheme eligibility should be lowered from age 70 and over to age 68 and over. This is consistent with the purpose of the scheme, to provide recognition to those who may not live long enough to apply to the statutory scheme. This decision balances uncertainty over future applications from within the existing age threshold as well as any lower age threshold, with the pattern of applications over the first five months, and the lack of any specific age from available research to reflect the impact of abuse in care on life expectancy. It also takes account of the need to provide a sensitive and timely service to all applicants.
7.3 Most importantly, this reduction in the age threshold will allow more survivors who may not live long enough to apply to the statutory scheme with the opportunity to receive recognition and acknowledgement now for the abuse they suffered in care in Scotland and the impact that has had. We know from feedback how meaningful that can be for some individuals.
7.4 The reduction in the age threshold to 68 will have immediate effect. There will be no further review to the age threshold thereafter. The intention is that the Advance Payment Scheme will cease to exist once the statutory redress scheme is operational.
7.5 We will continuously seek to improve the operation and delivery of the Advance Payment Scheme and learn lessons for the development and implementation of the statutory redress scheme. Feedback from applicants and others on the application form, guidance and process of applying to the scheme is encouraged.
7.6 Updated versions of the application form and guidance have now been published. These include revisions aimed at avoiding delays related to the required supporting documentation, including a checklist which applicants might find helpful. Specific guidance for those applying from overseas is now included. Some clarifications have also been provided in a number of areas, including an exception to the boarding school eligibility and detail about information which will be passed to Police Scotland in the event of perpetrators of abuse being named.
7.7 There has been a wealth of learning about how to obtain a written record which shows an individual spent time in care in Scotland. The scheme Advisers have built up considerable skills, knowledge and contacts in this area. Any potential applicant who is unsure how to do this is encouraged to make contact with the Team for advice in relation to their individual circumstances. In addition, work is in hand to develop and publish a Guidance Note on obtaining an in-care record to help future applicants and those supporting them.
7.8 We are very grateful for the time and assistance of other organisations, including care providers, in supporting us to provide Advance Payments to survivors of abuse in care in Scotland. We will seek out opportunities to work with other organisations to improve the process, to learn and share lessons, and to make it easier wherever possible for survivors to receive recognition and acknowledgement of the abuse they suffered in care and the impact that will have had.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback