So, the Council Of Ministers lodge the proposition into decades long Child Abuse.
It's a good start. But lets not get carried away. We need to have a good look at it and scrutinise the wording.
The big problem is this. They need to look at what happened to 'Operation Rectangle'.
The Committee of Enquiry must also look at what happened to the illegally suspended Chief of Police Graham Power and the denigration of lead investigator Lenny Harper.
This proposition is not up for debate until January 2013
We will be having a very good look
Im also waiting for the audio from todays States of Jersey sitting where I believe our Home Affairs Minster accused Leah Mgrath Goodman as a liar.
STATES OF JERSEY
COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY:
HISTORICAL CHILD ABUSE
THE STATES are asked to decide whether they are of opinion -
(a) to agree that a Committee of Inquiry should be established in accordance with Standing Order 146 to enquire into a definite matter
of public importance, namely historical child abuse in Jersey; and that the Committee should be comprised of a senior legally qualified
Chairman of significant standing from outside Jersey and 2 other members from outside the Island with suitable skills and experience;
(b) to approve the Terms of Reference for the Committee of Inquiry (asset out in Appendix 1 to the Report of the Council of Ministers dated
5th November 2012);
(c) to agree that the Chairman should be selected by a Panel comprising the Greffier of the States and 2 independent persons from the United Kingdom, with the selection process being overseen by the Jersey
Appointments Commission (d) to agree that the 2 members of the Committee should be selected by a Panel comprising the proposed Chairman, the Greffier of the States and 2 independent persons from the United Kingdom, with the selection process being overseen by the Jersey Appointments
(e) to agree that the proposed Chairman should be requested to recommend any final changes to the Terms of Reference for the Committee of Inquiry referred to in paragraph
(b) above for approval by the Assembly, and also to set out the proposed process for
conducting the Inquiry having consulted with interested parties where
(f) to request the Chief Minister to bring forward to the States the
necessary proposition relating to the appointment of the Chairman and
members and, if necessary, to the approval by the States of the final
Terms of Reference if changes have been recommended by the
(g) to agree that the Committee of Inquiry should be requested to
complete its work within 12 months of commencing the Inquiry
Historical Child Abuse: Establishment of Committee of Inquiry
This proposition, seeking the establishment of a Committee of Inquiry into Historical Child Abuse in Jersey, reflects both the belief of the Council of Ministers that this course of action is the correct one for the whole community and that it is the will of the States, following the approval of P.19/2011 (Appendix 2). The Council of Ministers also believes that it is in keeping with the intention of this proposition to reiterate the apology made on 6th December 2010 by former Chief Minister,
Senator T.A. Le Sueur –
“On behalf of the Island’s government, I acknowledge that the care system
that operated historically in the Island of Jersey failed some children in the
States’ residential care in a serious way. Such abuse has been confirmed by the criminal cases that have been before Jersey’s courts. To all those who suffered abuse, whether confirmed by criminal conviction or not, the Island’s government offers its unreserved apology.”
In making that apology, the States of Jersey acknowledged failings in the Island’s historical residential care system and, as a consequence, the Council of Ministers agreed the details of a Historic Abuse Redress Scheme for those who were in the States of Jersey’s full-time residential care between 9th May 1945 and 31st December 1994. Detailed discussions with claimants’ lawyers concluded that individuals concerned would prefer to settle matters, if possible, outside of public and adversarial court proceedings. Under the Scheme, which began in April 2012, claimants provide the relevant details and Mourant Ozannes (the Scheme lawyers) assess each claim. They will then determine whether the claim can be admitted into the Scheme, and assess the amount to be paid within agreed financial bands. Those bands have been arrived at following advice from expert UK counsel and feedback from specialist lawyers acting for claimants. All claims for financial redress were to be received by the States of Jersey’s legal advisers by 30th September 2012. Late claims would be considered by the Council of Ministers on a case-by-case basis. Since 2008 there have been a number of independent reports relating to Children’s Services.
These have included –
· Williamson Report: An Inquiry into Child Protection in Jersey – June 2008
· The Howard League for Penal Reform – Jersey Review: November 2008
· Williamson Report: Implementation Plan – January 2009
· Health, Social Security and Housing Scrutiny Panel Review – July 2009
· Report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture or Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – July 2010
· Youth Justice in Jersey: Options for Change – August 2010
· Action for Children – Review of Services for Children and Young People with Complex and Additional Needs – September 2012
· Voice of the Child Report – July 2012 The recommendations and actions contained in these reports are reported to the Children’s Policy Group on a quarterly basis and are contained in the Health and Social Services Department’s Service Improvement Plan. Since the approval of this Plan by the Children’s Policy Group at the end of 2011, significant progress has been made in implementing many of the recommendations.
A Committee of Inquiry
Public Inquiries are generally established to investigate specific and often
controversial events that have given rise to public concern and are followed by calls for a ‘full and public inquiry’. The common factor in every Public Inquiry is the pressing public concern that something has happened that must be investigated openly and fairly by a body that is independent of the problem. In Jersey, the first test for a Committee of Inquiry, as set out in Standing Orders, is that it must be about a ‘definite matter of public interest’.
In general, there are 6 main objectives of a public inquiry –
(1) Establishing the facts – providing a full and fair account of what
(2) Learning from events – distilling lessons and preventing their recurrence through changing practice.
(3) Therapeutic exposure – providing an opportunity for reconciliation and resolution between different parties.
(4) Reassurance – rebuilding public confidence in whatever service or issu has been the subject of the inquiry.
(5) Accountability – holding people and organisations to account, sometimes indirectly contributing to the assignment of blame and mechanisms fore retribution.
(6) Transparency – demonstrating that ‘something has been done’ or
transparency in government.
A full Committee of Inquiry is a significant undertaking which will require the
appointment of individuals of sufficient stature and experience to act impartially and judicially in order to safeguard the interests of all involved. Experience of other Inquiries, such as that of the Ireland Commission, is that many of those who wish to engage with it, whether as witnesses, those named by witnesses or other organisations would require legal support. This would be in addition to the legal support provided to the Inquiry team itself. All legal representation would be paid for by the States.
The framework for a Committee of Inquiry
The previous Council of Ministers commissioned Verita to seek the views of
interested parties about the purpose, manner and conduct of a Committee of Inquiry, to propose Terms of Reference, to forecast likely costs, and to make a written report with recommendations. The key tasks were to –
· seek the views of interested parties about the purpose, manner and conduct of the intervention/inquiry;
· research the various options, including restorative justice, in order to be able to advise the Council of Ministers and the States Assembly;
· propose Terms of Reference for the intervention/inquiry building on those resulting from the debate over P.19/2011;
· suggest ways of conducting the intervention/inquiry taking account of
previous undertakings and current views;
· model costs of the options – so that Ministers and other States Members
understand what they are committing to spend;
· set out the practical implications arising from the decisions they take.g. appointment of Chairman, Panel, recovery of documentation, etc.;
· set out a timetable for the commissioning and conduct of an
This report was considered by the former Council of Ministers in 2011, subsequently published and is attached as Appendix 3.
In view of the passage of time since Verita’s initial work, the Chief Minister requested that Mr. Andrew Williamson, a specialist in childcare services, review both the Terms
of Reference and the recommendations of the Verita report. This review is attached as Appendix 4.
These 2 reports raised a number of issues which the Council of Ministers considered in preparing this final Proposition and Report for presentation to the States for approval. These included the following issues, which are dealt with, in turn, below –
· the Terms of Reference;
· the composition of the Committee;
· the process for gaining States approval · Composition of Committee
The Council of Ministers recommends that the Chairman should be independent of Jersey and of all interested parties and should have a legal/judicial background. In order to ensure that the recruitment process is handled in an independent manner, it is proposed that the selection Panel should be comprised of the Greffier of the States and 2 independent persons with appropriate experience from the United Kingdom. It is further recommended that the Jersey Appointments Commission should oversee the appointment process of the Chairman. The Greffier has indicated his willingness to undertake this role if requested to do so by the States, and has suggested that he would seek to select one independent panellist with experience in dealing with public inquiries of this nature, and one with experience in working alongside victims of abuse, to form the Panel.
It is also recommended that the Chairman should be supported by one or 2 panellist also recruited from outside Jersey, with at least one lay member from an island community, and that one panellist should have childcare experience
· Process for gaining States approval
The Council of Ministers asks the States to approve the establishment of a Committe of Inquiry, a set of Terms of Reference and a process of recruitment for the Chairman and members. Following appropriate consultation, the proposed Chairman would then recommend any changes he/she deemed to be appropriate to the Terms of Reference.
A further Proposition and Report would then be presented to the States to approve –
(i) any changes to the Terms of Reference recommended by the proposed
(ii) the appointment of the Chairman and the 2 Committee members Financial and manpower implications
The Council of Ministers recognises that this Inquiry will be complex and will need administrative support as outlined in the Verita report. The estimated known and quantifiable costs of the Inquiry are put at some £2.04 million and are considered in detail in section 2.12 – 2.15 and Appendix 3 of the Verita report. Andrew Williamson considers these to be a fair reflection of the costs involved. However, it should be borne in mind that this estimate does not include the legal fees, which could be significant. These may be incurred under legal advice for the Panel, legal costs of interviewees and the legal costs for a review of the decisions on whethe to prosecute. Verita has advised that the legal costs of similar Committees of Inquiry may account for some 70% of the total overall costs.
The magnitude of legal costs will necessarily depend on the size of the Inquiry and the number of witnesses and their requirement for legal representation, all of which makes it difficult to precisely quantify the full costs at this stage. However, the best estimate of the total costs of a Committee of Inquiry, including legal costs, is likely to be in the region of some £6 million. Costs will need to be met from year-end carry-forwards and the Contingency for Emerging Items.
There are no permanent staffing implications for the States as a result of this
Proposition, although a number of temporary staff will need to be recruited. The cost estimate does not include officer time in departments which have dealings with the Committee – for example – for liaising with the Inquiry team, recovering documents,taking legal advice about disclosure and supporting those who are witnesses. This means that temporary staff may be needed, either to assist the Inquiry or to backstaff who are assisting. This, in turn, could have further cost implications.
It is the united view of this Council of Ministers that a Committee of Inquiry is the right and proper way in which to proceed. It provides a clear acknowledgement that things have gone wrong in the past, and that now is the time to learn lessons from past failings in childcare provision.
Ministers believe that by establishing a thorough, trusted and independent process of the inquiry, the experiences of all witnesses will be accorded their rightful importance and
play a part in ensuring that Jersey has the correct framework to protect all Islanders, especially its most vulnerable.
It is the sincere hope of the Council of Ministers that this Committee of Inquiry will be the first step in the healing process for all who have suffered and for the whole
community. The Council of Ministers urges Members to support this Proposition.
5th November 2012 Terms of Reference
The Committee of Inquiry (“the Committee”) is asked to do the following –
1. Establish the type and nature of children’s homes and fostering services in Jersey in the post-war period, with a particular focus on the period after 1960. Consider (in general terms) why children were placed and maintained in these services.
2. Determine the organisation (including recruitment and supervision of staff), management, governance and culture of children’s homes.
3. Examine the political oversight of children’s homes and fostering service the various Education Committees between 1960 and 1995, by the various Health and Social Services Committees between 1996 and 2005, and by ministerial government from 2006 to the current day.
4. Establish a chronology of significant changes in childcare practice and policy during this period, with reference to Jersey and the UK in order to identify the social norms under which the services in Jersey operated throughout the period under review
5. Take into account the independent investigations and reports conducted in response to the concerns raised in 2007 and any relevant information that has come to light during the development and progression of the Redress Scheme.
6. Consider the experiences of those witnesses who suffered abuse or believe that they suffered abuse, and hear from staff who worked in these services, together with any other relevant witnesses. It will be a matter for the Committee to determine the balance between privacy for the witness against the requirement for openness in a Committee of Inquiry. The Committee, in accordance with the requirements of Standing Order 147(2), will have the power to conduct hearings in private if the Chairman and members consider this to be appropriate.
7. Identify how and by what means concerns about abuse were raised and how, and to whom, they were reported. Establish whether systems existed to allow children and others to raise concerns and safeguard their wellbeing.
8. Consider how the Education and Health and Social Services Department dealt with concerns about alleged abuse, what action they took, and whether these actions were in line with the policies and procedures of the day.
9. Establish whether, where abuse was suspected, it was reported to the
appropriate bodies including the States of Jersey Police; and what action was taken by persons or entities including the police, and whether this was in line with policies and procedures of the day
10. Establish the process by which files submitted by the States of Jersey Police for consideration as to whether or not a prosecution should be brought, were dealt with by the prosecution authorities and establish whether or not that process –- enabled those responsible for deciding on which cases to prosecute to take a consistent and impartial approach;
- was free from any political influence or interference at any level.
If, in the opinion of the Chairman of the Committee, it is necessary that one or more of the prosecution files underpinning any prosecution decision should be examined, those files shall be examined by an independent expert or experts in criminal law from outside Jersey, appointed by the Committee, who shall prepare a confidential report to the Committee maintaining the anonymity of witnesses and persons against who accusations are made. Any such expert or experts shall ensure that they are fully informed of the relevant Jersey law at the material time, and shall carry out any such review on the basis of the
reasonableness of the decision in question in all the circumstances
11. Set out what lessons can be learnt for the current system of residential and
foster care services in Jersey.
12. Report on any other issues arising during the Inquiry considered to be relevant to the past safety of children in residential or foster care. The Inquiry should make full use of all work conducted since 2007