- 29 May 2019
Date received: 25 Apr 2019
Date responded: 23 May 2019
Full details along with a freedom of information request into criteria for awarding payments & rationale for selection survivors. Also the rationale - reasoning for no statement or corroboration on abuse in childhood, or any apparent assessment.
The criteria and rationale for the awarding of payments and for the selection of the group of survivors that would be eligible has only been confirmed for the Advance Payment scheme which was launched by the Deputy First Minister on 25th April 2019 (https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/deputy-first-minister-statement-advance-redress-payments ). The Advance Payment Scheme comes ahead of the planned legislation for a statutory redress scheme for survivors of abuse in care in Scotland. The statutory scheme is in the early stages of development and there will be a public consultation on the key elements of this scheme in the coming months.
Information on the criteria and rationale for the awarding of payments for the Advance Payments scheme and the survivors that are eligible for the scheme is in the public domain. A brief background is provided below along with links to the relevant information.
In January 2017, CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland) was commissioned by the Scottish Government to work in partnership with the SHRC InterAction Action Plan Review Group and to take forward a consultation and engagement exercise on a potential financial compensation/redress scheme for individuals who experienced abuse in care in Scotland, as defined by the terms of reference of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI). Full details of the consultation and engagement along with all related reports can be found here: https://www.celcis.org/our-work/key-areas/historical-abuse/financial-redress/ .
The reports and recommendations from this considerable piece of work were presented to the Deputy First Minister in September 2018. Alongside the consultation, specific discussions took place concerning the status of pre-1964 victims/survivors and the following recommendation was made in regard to an advance payment scheme.
Recommendation – An ‘advanced payment scheme’ for the elderly and ill should be progressed as soon as possible and before the main financial compensation/redress scheme is established in statute.
It was agreed in this recommendation, published on 6 September 2018, that the Review Group would, at a later date, forward on information to the Deputy First Minister in relation to advance payments for the elderly and ill. That detail was outlined in a letter sent to the Deputy First Minister on 2 October 2018.( https://www.celcis.org/files/2615/3864/8081/Financial_Redress_Letter_of_Recommendations_follow_up_1.10.18V2.pdf
The Deputy First Minister accepted the recommendations of the Review Group in relation to advance payments in full in his statement to Parliament on 23rd October 2018. (https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/response-to-recommendations-on-financial-redress-for-survivors-of-child-abuse-in-care ) This included the recommendations in relation to those approaching the end of life and those age 70 or over. These are the key eligibility criteria for the Advance Payment scheme. As per the letter sent to the Deputy First Minister in October 2018, these criteria will be reviewed three months after the Advance Payment scheme opened to ensure they are not too restrictive.
A cut off date for abuse that occurred in care before December 2004 has been applied to the Advance Payment scheme as its purpose is to address historic abuse. December 2004 marked the public apology made by the then First Minister Jack McConnell and endorsed by the Scottish Parliament as a whole. It also marked the broad mid-point of a period of rapid and significant change in child protection legislation, policy and practice in relation to children in care.
Further details of the Advance Payment scheme can be found on the dedicated website here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/financial-redress-for-survivors-of-child-abuse-in-care-advance-payment-scheme/
A significant amount of the information you have requested in relation to the rationale and criteria for awarding payments and the survivors eligible for advanced payments is available from the website links included above. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
With regard to the second element of your question - the rationale - reasoning for no statement or corroboration on abuse in childhood, or any apparent assessment is based on the circumstances of those applying for Advance Payment, who will be elderly or terminally ill. The overriding principle is that the scheme should be quick and simple to deliver, whilst also being robust and credible.
With this in mind we did not consider it possible to require written evidence of abuse for Advance Payments because we know that the vast majority of survivors will not have any formal record of abuse. Reporting of abuse was not common and, for those who did, they were often not believed.
There is also a need to be sensitive in terms of the information we seek, as we wish to avoid as much as possible asking for information which requires applicants to revisit their experience which can, for some, cause subsequent trauma. We are mindful of the recent report by the Victims Commissioner in relation to the operation of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and re-traumatisation.
Following discussions with Scottish Government’s internal audit team and with Audit Scotland, we designed paperwork asking applicants to confirm they were abused in care by way of a signed self-declaration. We also set out the consequences of making a fraudulent claim and the possibility of court action. Given the self-declaration of abuse, it was therefore important that some form of written record of being in care is provided along with the application form.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House