On the 1 April 2019 the Lambeth Children’s Home Redress Scheme, which has been operational since the 1 January 2018, reported on its progress.
The scheme had received 1,115 applications by mid-March this year. Applications have in the main been from England, though applications have also been received from the USA, Australia, Canada and Europe.
Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth council leader, said:
“As the new leader of this council I am committed to our pledge to survivors that this council will not be like previous administrations and will continue to face up to the past.
“This scheme is incredibly important as it acknowledges how very badly our former children’s home residents were let down. We know that many former children’s homes residents will never be able to forgive the council for their childhood experiences.
“But we are determined to do all we can to deliver swift and compassionate redress to those who have waited so long to even have acknowledgement of the suffering they experienced. I want to apologise to abuse survivors of behalf of the council.”
In the last 12 months 851 Harm’s Way Payments have been processed with a total of £7.7 million having been paid to survivors. The processing of a Harm’s Way Payment has taken on average 43 working days.
68 applicants have received individual redress payments totalling £915,680.
Offers of redress have been made in a large number, on an ongoing basis, and Lambeth Council says that the redress has been paid at a rate that is significantly quicker than if a civil claim had been brought through the courts.
In addition, there are six applications where the total value of redress to the applicant exceeded the scheme cap of £125,000 . Compensation of £747,450 has been paid out by Lambeth Council against these six applications.
There have been four appeals to the Independent Appeal Panel, one of these has been allowed and the applicant was able to apply to the Scheme and has received a Harm’s Way Payment. In the other three appeals, the original decision of Lambeth Council under the Scheme was upheld.
One aspect of the report that is of interest is that Lambeth Council has formed the impression that is has over-estimated the possible number of applications that will be received under the scheme.
The scheme was established on the basis that during the two years it was open for applications, it would likely receive 3,000 applications and cost up to £100 million, with a further £40 million being set aside to deal with complex claims that would fall outside the scheme.
Having now reviewed the data at the end of the first year that the scheme has been in operation, the actuarial advice is that overall application numbers will be lower than forecast, with the current “best estimate” for total applications now being put at 2,100. However, the council has rightly adopted a prudent approach to these new figures and continues to budget £100 million for the operation of the scheme; but this figure now includes the costs of those complex cases over £125,000.
The total cost of administering the scheme including the legal costs paid to applicant solicitors and the council’s own costs of administration was £2,134,416.
The total cost of the Scheme operation as at the end of March, 2019 is, therefore, £11,563,046.
The council will report again on the operation of the Scheme in September 2019.
Written by Sharon Moohan, partner