Lambeth Redress Scheme – Update as of April 2020

The Lambeth Children’s Homes Redress Scheme (LRS) was launched on 2 January 2018 and can accept applications up to 1 January 2022.

The LRS provides survivors of physical and/or sexual and/or psychological abuse (whilst resident in a Lambeth Children’s Home) with an alternative dispute mechanism for obtaining compensation without having to go through the Courts.

It covers all Children’s Homes which were run by Lambeth Council and applies to all residents dating back to the 1930s until the Homes were closed in the 1980 and 90s.

Since the LRS opened a total of 1,479 applications have been made.

However, of the 1,479 applications received only 53% of those applications (i.e. 784 applications) have been processed through to conclusion with a total of £30.7 million having been paid in redress directly to applicants as at 1 January 2020.

Applications to the LRS are processed in two stages, the first is the determination of eligibility under the LRS and the subsequent calculation and payment of the Harm’s Way payment to applicants. The second stage involves the determination of the value of any Individual Redress payment that is due to an applicant to reflect the abuse and psychological injury suffered whilst as a child in a Lambeth Children’s home.

Of the £30.7 million paid out to date in redress £11.2 million was paid in Harm’s Way payments, £15.9 million was paid out in further Individual Redress payments and £3.6 million on applications over the LRS limit of £125,000.

The current average processing time from the receipt of an application through to the point that the Harm’s Way Payment is paid to the applicant is two months.

The current average processing time from the end of stage 1 to the Individual Redress payment being made to an applicant is 10.5 months.

Those who administer the LRS are keen to emphasise that the nature of the abuse and the effect that it has had on the applicant is carefully assessed to ensure that the correct level of compensation is payable to each individual and in keeping with the general underlying principles of most modern redress schemes there is tacit acceptance that no two applications will be identical, regard must be had to the individual circumstances of each applicant and as a result each application will be concluded on the basis of its own individual timescale.

While the redress payable totals £30.7 million, as of the end of the first two years of operation the total LRS expenditure to date is £42.5 million.

The additional costs are made up as follows:-

  • £4.3 million in respect of applicants legal costs
  • £2.1 million for the council’s own legal costs in processing applications and
  • £5.4 million on other costs including rehabilitation, therapy and counselling for applicants, cost of instructing medical experts and social records chronology and also on administrative & staffing costs

There has been a total of 63 applications that have not been accepted into the LRS due to not meeting the relevant criteria. The reasons for applications not being accepted are as follows:-

  • Unable to verify applicant – 31
  • Not placed in a Lambeth children’s home – 26
  • Threshold not met for Harm’s Way – 5
  • Abuse occurred whilst in foster care – 1

As at January 2020 a total of 1,272 Harm’s Way payments have been made to applicants totalling £11.2 million. The breakdown of these payments is shown in the table below:

 

Harm’s Way payments No. of verified payments Total amount paid (£)
£1,000 – less than 1 week 5 5,000
£2,500 – more than 1 week up to 3 months 126 315,000
£5,000 – between 3 and 6 months 94 470,000
£10,000 – more than 6 months 1047 10,470,000
Total Harm’s Way payments 1,272 11,260,000

 As the LRS was one of the first modern redress schemes to provide for a Harm’s Way payment it is interesting to note that 82.5% of the applications for this type of payment were eligible to be paid at the highest rate provided by the LRS i.e. £10,000.

Another aspect of the report which is of interest is the limited take up of non-financial redress provided for in the LRS which includes a letter of apology, a meeting with a senior representative of the council, access to a counselling service and access to specialist advice and help with issues including housing, welfare, benefits, further education and employment.

As at January 2020 the access to non-financial redress breaks down as follows:-

  • 260 letters of apology have been requested, prepared and sent to applicants
  • 27 applicants have requested and had a meeting with a senior representative of the council

The following 68 referrals have been made to specialist advisory services:-

  • 41 Housing
  • 11 Further Education
  • 9 Employment
  • 7 Welfare & Benefit

Although the numbers of applications are lower than originally forecast the number of applications where redress is assessed at the higher end of the tariff and those exceeding the LRS limit are increasing.

The detailed information provided by this report will no doubt have formed part of the detailed and lengthy submission made by Lambeth Council to IICSA referred to in our recent blog here and more importantly it will provide IICSA with a unique and valuable insight into how effective redress is in dealing with claims arising from the physical and/or sexual and/or psychological abuse of children, an insight which may well inform IICSA’s  approach when it comes to making its own recommendations following on from its investigations into Accountability & Reparations in its final report.


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Written by Sharon Moohan, Partner at BLM

Sharon.moohan@blmlaw.com

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