Points of Clarification Requested by the FBGA from the Historical Abuse Systemic Review Team
JUNE 15, 2006
As you are aware I indicated at our meeting that as a group we would require clarification on a number of points.
This is for us as a group to make an informed judgement as to the scope, depth and remit of the Review Team in carrying out its function and enabling as wide as possible the fullest participation of victim/survivors.
I would appreciate it if you would kindly give a response to the following questions 1-23:
1. Is the process open to any
victim/survivor who is not a member of a particular group?
Any individual may offer to contribute to the review. When a person such as a victim/survivor contacts the review, general information is sent to them with the request that they read the material and get back to us if they would still like to contribute to the review.
2. When is the closing date for all testimony to have been submitted by participants to the Review Team?
The proposed closing date for receiving information which may inform the review is September 30, 2006.
3. What powers does the Review Team have to enforce an organisation or individual to provide documents necessary for the Review Team to properly conduct their investigation?
The review has no legal authority to require any person or organisation to produce documents which may be relevant although there is willingness, generally, to assist with the work.
4. Does the Review Team believe that they have sufficient funding to fully carry out their remit?
It is not considered appropriate for the review to comment on this matter at this time.
5. Will any expenses incurred by participants be refunded to those individuals who attend Review Team meetings away from their home?
The review does not receive funding for expenses of this kind. As a result, we have tried to accommodate people by offering different methods of contributing information and by travelling to meet with people, when possible, in locations convenient to them.
6. Are any resources or funds for advocacy or other costs being made available to
the self-help groups to enable these groups to assist participants to fully engage in the Review process?
review does not receive funding for this purpose.
7. What procedures, safeguards, protocols & security measures are in place to control the disclosure of sensitive or confidential information provided by a participant to the Review Team to third parties including officials in the Scottish Executive?
The review is required, as part of the Independent Expert's terms and conditions of appointment, to ensure the appropriate confidentiality is applied to the information supplied to it. To this end, office procedures have been developed which ensure that information is kept securely and limited access is afforded to it.
A consent form has been prepared and is provided to those who wish to give information to the review. The form sets out what will happen to the information provided and the measures which are in place to ensure confidentiality.
A copy of the form is attached.
8. Is there a consent form available to be signed by a participant at each and every step of the Review process, starting with the meeting with the Review Team through to the submission of data and information to the Minister of Education and Young People and the Scottish Executive?
The consent form sets out what will happen to the information provided to the review, including the circumstances in which we would contact an individual again to seek further consent.
9. Will every effort be made to publicise both in Scotland and in the rest of the UK, the existence of the Review Team, together with its location and its remit, in order to attract the widest possible participation by victim/survivors of historic abuse in past Scottish care establishments?
review has been publicised by Parliament, the Scottish Executive and through correspondence sent to various organisations, including survivors’organisations. Your group, FBGA, has assisted us by putting information on your website; another organisation
distributed information; and publicity has occurred through networks of individuals.
10. What forms of media will be used to effectively publicise the Review process, consistent with the issues mentioned in point 9 above?
At this time we are assessing what media to use.
11. What assurances can be given that the
complete, unabridged Review Team's report will be made public?
Scottish Ministers will make all decisions about the Final Report once received by them.
12. What media forms will be used to inform the public that the final report is available?
stated in #11.
13. Under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (England, Wales & Nth Ireland), will participants be allowed access to any documentation submitted to the Review Team by individuals or organisations?
The review would consider carefully any request for information it received.
14. Is it a condition of the Review Team's remit that recommendations, based on the Review Team's findings, are made in your final report both to the Minister of Education and Young People and to the Scottish Executive?
As you can see from the remit, a copy of which is attached, the review has an amount of flexibility in relation to the content of its report. There is no particular requirement that the report contains recommendations.
15. Are the recommendations in the final report of the Review Team, wholly or partially binding on the Minister of Education and Young People and on the Scottish Executive or otherwise?
As you can see from the remit, there is no requirement on the review that its report contain recommendations. Should the review choose to make any recommendations, the Scottish Ministers will determine how these will be treated.
16. How will the Review Team reconcile cases, where victims have already achieved court convictions, with the testimony submitted by victim/survivors who participate in the Review process, but have not yet been through court proceedings?
While the review is willing to receive information from individual victims/survivors, the review's remit excludes the examination in its report of the facts or circumstances of any individual case of abuse. In light of this particular limitation, the review does not consider that it will be necessary to "reconcile" the information provided by individuals whose cases have been litigated and those that have not.
17. What provision is there in the Review process for the Review Team to make
recommendations to the Scottish Executive, based on the fact that seven ex-Quarriers employees have already been convicted?
18. Will the Review Team publicly declare in the final report, either by pseudonym or by name, in the case of anyone who wishes to go public, all those who participate in the Review process?
It is proposed that a list of those persons or bodies who provided information to the review will be included in the final report. Individuals will not be identified in this list; instead a reference would be inserted listing "a private individual". However, should an individual specify that they wish their name to be included in such a list, the review would consider that request.
19. Is the Review Team convinced that this Review process has the time, the
jurisdiction, the scope and the capability to fully establish the reasons for, and the
extent of, any failures in the systems of management, regulation and child care which may have occurred in Quarriers and other Scottish care organisations?
The review's remit is to identify what regulatory requirements and powers were in place during the period under review, as well as to identify and assess the adequacy of any systems in place to ensure compliance with those requirements. The review is also intended to look into the practical operation and effectiveness of such systems. The review's remit specifically excludes it from reporting on the facts or circumstances of any particular case.
20. Is the Review Team convinced that this Review process will fully identify failures in support systems for victims of childhood abuse in cases where they have already been proven in the courts or which may be brought to your attention by participants?
conjunction with my statements in response to the previous question, I am committed
to highlighting any relevant and related issues which arise during the review.
21. Will the Review process include interviews with the management of Quarriers, the Local Authority and the Local Police service under whose jurisdiction Quarriers and other care organisations reside?
I do not consider it appropriate to comment on who I may or do interview during the review while it is still on-going.
22. If the agencies named in point 21 above are included in the Review process, will the Review Team's findings be included in the final report to the Scottish Executive?
information considered relevant will inform the review’s findings.
23. Will the Review Team be interviewing any individuals of the Church of Scotland within the organisation who had their salaries paid for by Quarriers Homes and others who administered the faith to the Children's organisation down the generations?
Same answer as #21.
I thank you in advance for your assistance in these matters.