Update on Scottish in-care abuse redress scheme

On 16 June 2021 the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, John Swinney MSP, updated the Scottish Parliament on behalf of the Scottish Government on progress with the development and delivery of the Scottish redress scheme.

Notable points made by the Deputy First Minister on 16 June include that Scottish Government:

  • renews their commitment for the statutory redress scheme to be operational by the end of 2021, opening for applications in December 2021 at the latest.
  • has “engaged extensively with a wide range of public and third sector organisations on the issue of participation in the scheme”, with “positive conversations about their contributions to the scheme” and a “hope” that agreements will be reached “with a number of organisations in the near future” and with information to be shared publicly “about the success of those conversations on an ongoing basis.
  • are developing and drafting the required secondary legislation and statutory guidance to assist with interpretation of the Scottish in-care abuse redress Act, with “targeted engagement taking place with survivors and others” on this and with further detail to be made public following the summer 2021 Scottish parliamentary recess.
  • continues to develop, in conjunction with clinical psychologists, an assessment framework to inform Redress Scotland’s decision-making on individually assessed payments “in a fair and consistent way”, with this framework likely to be published in autumn 2021.
  • continues to engage with relevant UK Government departments to ensure that benefits, social care entitlements, and tax disregards are in place for those who receive a redress payment under the scheme.
  • is putting in place a programme of workshops to give survivors the opportunity to help to design the Survivors Forum which is being established under the Act to  – among other things – contribute to “the continuous improvement of the delivery of the redress scheme” and “providing scrutiny of the assessment and awards process.”

Mr Swinney also gave an update on the advance payment scheme which remains open pending the establishment of Redress Scotland, with payments now having been made to elderly and terminally ill survivors for more than two years. In total, more than 600 advanced payments, all on a government funded flat-rate of £10k per successful applicant, have now been made. Despite certain calls for a review of the “over 68 or terminally ill” eligibility criteria for an advance payment, Mr Swinney announced his decision that “it is appropriate to leave the criteria as they are, particularly as we remain on course to open the statutory scheme on schedule.”

With Qualified One-way Costs Shifting (QOCS) coming into force for all Scottish personal injury claims litigated from 30 June 2021, it will be interesting to see how many claims which could be the subject of redress applications will have been litigated by the time that the redress scheme opens for applications around six months later.

To re-cap, the scheme being established is for redress payments upon successful application to those who were abused as children (under 18) in relevant residential care settings before 1 December 2004. Successful applicants will receive a redress payment of one of £10k, £20k, £40k, £60k, £80k or £100k. The £10k is a “fixed rate payment” which may be topped-up to any of the higher levels by an “individually assessed payment” taking account of the nature, severity, frequency and duration of the abuse and any other relevant matter. Next of kin of relevant deceased persons can apply for a redress payment of £10k, or a relevant share of that, where the person abused died on or after 1 December 2004. A litigation waiver is to be signed by applicants in exchange for a redress payment with the waiver operating in favour of Scottish Government and any “relevant scheme contributor” listed by Scottish Government as making a “fair and meaningful” contribution to the scheme.

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