On 5 July, 2021 the Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill announced the establishment of a review of the client journey for HIA redress to improve the experiences of victims and survivors.
In announcing the review the First Minister Paul Givan said that although much good work had been done since the redress process commenced over 15 months ago (1,090 applications have been finalised and redress totalling £20 million has been paid out) he said that there is still a clear need to consider what improvements can be made.
He went on to announce that “A full and broad review will now be undertaken to ensure that the needs of victims and survivors are at the heart of all aspects and stages of the process.”
He encouraged those who have not yet come forward to apply for redress to do so now and reassured them that they should “…have confidence that you will be treated with dignity, respect and compassion.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill added that “Delivering acknowledgement, redress and support for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse is a priority for me personally, and it is a shared commitment for the whole Executive.”
She also said that the redress process did not need to await the outcome of the proposed review to make changes and any positive changes identified should be implemented sooner rather than later, she stated that every effort must be made to ensure that victims and survivors who engage in the process are supported in a way “…that meets their individual needs.”
Work will now commence on the Terms of Reference for the Review, which it is hoped will be completed over the summer period and this will include engagement with victims and survivors, the HIA Redress Board, the Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Abuse and support services.
The announcement of the review of the HIA redress process is not unexpected, once established redress schemes often have to be reviewed and tweaked in order to ensure that they respond to the individual needs of the victims and survivors and other stakeholders.
Readers of the BLOG will be aware that our BLOG on Friday 9 July addressed a recent review and changes made to the Windrush Compensation Scheme for just these reasons and we will soon be updating you on the outcome of the second year review of the National Redress Scheme in Australia, the report relating to the same was published on 23 June, 2021.