Redress Scheme: information for organisations

Information for organisations considering participating in the Redress Scheme for survivors of historical abuse in care in Scotland.

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Participation options

Contributions can be made through one of two processes or participation options. These have been informed by extensive engagement with a range of organisations and are designed to accommodate the diverse nature of bodies involved in the historical care landscape. The participation options are known as ‘defined contributions’ and ‘redress payments determined’ and allow the Scottish Ministers to make an assessment of whether a proposed contribution can be considered fair and meaningful. In both options, participating organisations need to enter into a contract with the Scottish Ministers. Read further information on the contracts process. The participation options are outlined here.

Defined contributions approach

Participating on a defined contributions basis means the organisation and the Scottish Ministers agree a maximum financial contribution which can be accepted as fair and meaningful, based on the best available information about that organisation, their services and what is known about their historical legacy relating to abuse prior to 2004. This sum will always be based on an estimate of individually assessed payments likely to relate to that organisation. While the best available information will be used, uncertainty will remain in estimating the number of children who were abused in care, the number of people who may apply to the scheme, and the values of the redress payments which may be made to applicants. The contribution to be agreed can be informed by considerations of affordability relating to the organisation. A payment schedule will be agreed with the organisation to allow for financial planning in relation to contributions. This will be regularly reviewed jointly with the participating organisation as the scheme progresses and can be adjusted if necessary. While the payment schedule can be adjusted to take account of the operation of the scheme, up to that maximum financial contribution figure if relevant redress payments so demand, the maximum contribution will not change.

Redress payments determined approach

Participating on a redress payments determined basis means that, in order to be added to the contributor list the organisation agrees to pay an initial sum to fund any redress payments made where the application has named a care setting for which the organisation was responsible as a place of abuse. When applications are received and the initial contribution has been allocated to fund these, the Scottish Ministers will make arrangements with the organisation on a case-by-case basis for their contribution to any further redress payments relevant to the organisation. If, at the end of the scheme, no applications are received relevant to the organisation the initial contribution will be refunded.

In both approaches, the redress payments made to applicants will play a key role in the assessment of contributions, however fair and meaningful contributions are not about a particular organisation paying redress to any named applicant, rather it is a national, collective scheme to redress the harms of the past.

Participating organisations in both approaches will be kept informed of how their contribution is used through regular reports. The contribution payment schedule can be amended to adjust the amounts (either upwards or downwards) of any instalment which has not yet been paid, and this may include adjustment of the total amount of the contribution within the limits of any cap which has been agreed. Such an amendment may take place where the Scottish Ministers have notified the contributor of their intention to amend the payment schedule (in which case the contributor will have 28 days to make representations), or where the contributor has submitted a request to the Scottish Ministers to do so. For either form of participation, when the scheme closes any excess of contributions made but not used to fund redress payments will be refunded to the participating organisation.

Local government contributions

Local Authorities in Scotland have held responsibilities for the care of children throughout the period covered by the redress scheme. The Scottish Government’s approach has, from the outset, been to seek to agree a collective contribution from Scottish local authorities, to reflect the legacy of local government responsibility for historical child abuse in relevant care settings. This contribution will reflect the responsibility of local authorities for abuse carried out in care settings operated by them or in foster care, but also the broader responsibility of local authorities for the placing of children in care, the oversight and scrutiny of care in their areas and the historical failure to respond appropriately to allegations of abuse where they were made. We must also recognise the restructuring of local government in Scotland in 1975 and 1996, as well as the evolution of the local government role in caring for children in the post war period. local government has acknowledged its role as a major provider of support for children, directly and indirectly, over many years and recognises its responsibility to address the wrongs of the past.

Given the breadth of local government involvement, it is difficult to reliably estimate the proportion of redress payments which will be attributable to local government. Wider responsibility, beyond the provision of direct residential care, can be difficult to ascertain due to the passage of time, retention of records, and restructuring of local authority boundaries and responsibilities. The full extent of local authorities’ involvement in, or responsibility for, historical abuse may not fully come to light in specific applications as their role may not be known or recognised by the survivor applicant.

Additionally, local authorities have had, and continue to have, duties to provide certain services to children, which differentiates them from other organisations. 

All local authorities have an ongoing responsibility for providing a broad range of public services in their community – sustainability of these wide ranging public services is a key consideration in respect of local authorities.

The approach of Scottish Ministers to local authorities’ financial contribution reflects those distinctions and differences which set them apart from third sector organisations and other providers. However, Scottish Ministers have been clear that they expect the public sector to play their part in the redress scheme and local government has agreed to make a collective, substantial and significant contribution.



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