The second chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has today published an update statement. Meanwhile interest in the IICSA remains high with a debate in the House of Commons today and due from Prof Jay and others tomorrow.
Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry
Lady Smith has stated her commitment to the Inquiry and to discharging her duties independently, thoroughly and to the best of her ability. The statement confirms the progress which has been made to date including in research, gathering of information and documents, issue of restrictions orders, appointment of a document management system. A hearing venue is also currently being sought. The statement is however clear that the terms of the remit were set when the Inquiry began and there is no suggestion that they will be changed, which has been called for by those who consider they are too narrow, in contrast to the suggestions that the scope of the IICSA is too wide.
Lisa Nandy MP today asked an urgent question on the progress of the IICSA, which resulted in a series of questions not just about the events surrounding Lowell Goddard’s resignation but also mandatory reporting, child trafficking, global approaches to child protection and child sexual exploitation. All MP’s who have spoken today have reiterated the importance of the Inquiry and there has been no suggestion that the IICSA should not proceed. The Home Secretary noted that the Inquiry is an independent body and that the resignation of Dame Goddard was unexpected. She sought to provide some detail about the history of the resignation noting that on 29th July the secretary to the Inquiry met with her secretary and that was the first time that concerns were raised about the professionalism and competence of the then Chair. Less than a week elapsed between those concerns first being raised and the resignation. The only way to really understand her reasons is to hear from Dame Goddard and it is clear that all would like her to attend and provide that explanation herself.
There have been many questions about what the Inquiry is now doing and when it will make progress. Timing was raised but no definitive answers provided other than an interim report has been promised by the end of the current financial year and an intention to work towards a final report by December 2020. In the short term all expectations now rest on some progress tomorrow.
Paula Jefferson, Partner