In 2017 Sir Anthony Hart completed his report following several years of evidence into residential homes and the systemic failings identified in the management and control of those homes. The NI Executive collapsed over differences between parties and has not been restored for almost three years now.
Campaigners feared the legislation needed to implement the Redress Scheme and appointment of a Commissioner to represent their interests would fail as a result of the turmoil created by Brexit and the calling of the election on 12 December but in almost unprecedented scenes the Bill passed and received Royal Assent just before the Parliament was dissolved.
In addition the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland found that the civil servants in The Executive Office could implement a scheme under the powers they had available.
These two events have culminated in victims groups meeting with civil servants on Monday 11 November 2019 to discuss the implementation of the scheme.
The HIAI scheme suggested an “entry level” of compensation for those who could show exposure to a harsh regime and set that at £7,500. The Bill has adopted the scheme other than setting the “entry level” at £10,000.
The civil service will need to look at how the President of the Redress Panel will be appointed (and it is likely there will be assistance from the Lord Chief Justice’s Office for that), the rules and regulations for the scheme and the appointment of judicial members and will also need to consider the recruitment process for the Commissioner’s office and create the rules and regulations for that office also. Budgets for both offices will need to be addressed and accommodation and staff appointed to each.
Written by Ciara McReynolds at BLM