Scottish Government has recently released its twelfth information note on the Scottish in-care abuse redress scheme, link here. Key points include that:
- The scheme “is on schedule to open for applications in December 2021”.
- The scheme will be run by two organisations – the Scottish Government Redress Division which will administer the scheme and provide support to apply and the new independent body, Redress Scotland, which will make decisions on applications.
- Joanna McCreadie, formerly of The Gannochy Trust community and housing organisation, has been appointed as Chief Executive of Redress Scotland, with Johnny Gwynne, formerly of Police Scotland and the National Crime Agency, already in post as Chair of Redress Scotland. Recruitment of Redress Scotland panel members is ongoing.
- Redress Scotland is working with StudioLR on a website and “brand identity”.
In other developments, secondary legislation is now in place on legal fees to be paid for work done on scheme applications. The fees for completed first applications are £450 for work on a fixed rate redress payment application or a next of kin application and £2,000 for work on an individually assessed redress payment application. VAT is payable in addition to these fees and certain outlays may also be recovered. Applications may be made for additional fees in “exceptional or unexpected circumstances.”
Scottish Government has also recently released its response to a freedom of information request on contributions by relevant organisations to the costs of the scheme, link here. This discloses that, as at 13 September 2021, no concluded agreements had been reached for any contributions. It has not been publicly confirmed whether this has changed in the period from 13 September although it is understood that discussions are on-going with various organisations. In March 2021, Scottish Government announced that the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) had offered to contribute £100m to the scheme. The estimated total cost of the scheme is around £400m. Certain evidence heard when the legislation was under consideration suggested that Scottish Government was looking for around £350m in total contributions and £200m (of that £350m) from Scottish local authorities in particular. Organisations which make a “fair and meaningful” contribution to the scheme in the assessment of Scottish Government may benefit from the litigation waiver to be signed by applicants in exchange for a redress payment. A finalised version of the “fair and meaningful principles” to be applied by Scottish Government in this regard has not yet been made public. Scottish Government has already committed to meeting the entire cost of the scheme even if no contributions are secured.