This consultation seeks views on the detailed design of a statutory financial redress scheme in Scotland, scheme administration issues, and views on financial redress as part of a package of wider reparations for survivors of historical child abuse in care.
The consultation and engagement on redress involved three main activities which took place over the course of 2016-18. There was a survivor consultation in 2017, which received just over 180 responses, an engagement exercise to gather initial views from residential and foster care providers and other relevant professional groups, and a review of available information about financial redress schemes in other countries. Those views provide the starting point for this consultation. We now need to build on those with the level of detail required for scheme design and implementation.
A set of recommendations were drawn from this work, in particular the information gained from the consultation with survivors and in response to these recommendations, in October 2018, the Deputy First Minister committed to make advance payments as soon as possible to survivors who may not live long enough to apply to the statutory scheme. The Advance Payment Scheme opened for applications six months later in April 2019. Advance Payments are being made on a discretionary basis to those who have a terminal illness, or who are age 70 or over. The intention is that the Advance Payment Scheme will remain open until the statutory redress scheme is operational.
Those views provide the starting point for this consultation, which asks questions about scheme design and also includes wider issues, including how those responsible should contribute to the scheme, the establishment of a public body to administer the scheme, and the potential alignment of financial redress with other elements of a reparation package for survivors of historical abuse in care. Getting the design of a financial redress scheme right is of the utmost importance if it is to give survivors the acknowledgement they need and deserve, and if it is to do so with compassion and sensitivity. Survivors have said that financial redress is an important part of acknowledging what happened to them in the past as children in care in Scotland.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 25 November 2019. Once the consultation has closed, the results will be analysed independently by an external analyst, and a report published. The consultation findings will help shape the content of the draft legislation, which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament during 2020. It is expected to be one of the final pieces of legislation considered before the end of this Parliamentary term in March 2021. It should be noted that the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is independent of government and any other organisation and does not therefore form any part of this consultation.