Issue - decisions

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Council’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse.

13/06/2016 - The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Council’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse.

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Lib Peck, and the Chief Executive, Sean Harriss, introduced the paper and noted:

·           the principles which Lambeth would embrace on an incredibly sensitive and important area of work, recognising Lambeth’s historic failings and the damaging impact of these, and how the Council would work with those affected including the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA);

·           support of victims was of the utmost importance and the agenda pack (pages 7-13) detailed the Council’s response to date and future work in this area;

·           transparency was another key area,  and the Council owed those affected the support and help they needed get to some measure of truth and acknowledgement;

·           there were many  activities undertaken by Lambeth since the SOSA presentation to Full Council on 22 July 2015 and this support would continue;

·           the Independent Inquiry for Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was a formal statutory inquiry, and had specifically identified Lambeth as a core participant;

·           the report detailed the information the Council had or would provide the Inquiry and redacted copies would be available for public viewing in Lambeth Archives;

·           the IICSA would hopefully conclude its preliminary hearings in autumn 2017;

·           Council evidence had already been used in a successful prosecution;

·           the Council was providing funding to help support SOSA and its activities and pay the significant legal and additional resource costs, but further funding would be needed for compensation claims;

·           the report  highlighted the publicity and further compensation claims work to date, and the Chief Executive noted that it was in the best interests of victims to deal with these quickly and effectively and was why he sought Cabinet approval to delegate the authority to formulate a draft compensation scheme to him; and,

·           this was a top priority for Lambeth and it would significantly impact the Council’s time, capacity, and budgets, however it was a necessary expenditure.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor Lib Peck, added a statement from SOSA:

·           SOSA had a productive relationship with Lambeth and believed it could be replicated with other survivor groups across the country;

·           they welcomed the Council’s moves to set up a compensation mechanism; and,

·           SOSA was willing to constructively discuss ways of resolving the Council’s historical failings.


The Chief Executive, Sean Harriss, answered Cabinet’s questions:

·           SOSA was the focus of the initial campaign, but it had developed into a Lambeth-wide survivors’ organisation representing most children’s homes during the period in question and the IICSA scope related to all Lambeth children’s homes;

·           support was a key point, and the Council was not limiting this specifically to SOSA, as it was dealing with other organisations and individuals outside this body;

·           the Council had contacted current and historic employees or those with a connection with the Council during the period in question, to uncover further information;

·           there were ongoing discussions with IICSA as to how best to share information and encourage further participation, and it was envisaged  that the Council would regularly liaise with IICSA to develop this as the Inquiry proceeded;

·           the significant period of the Inquiry was, but not limited to, 1983 when the homes closed;

·           the review of documentation was to professional standards, following the IICSA’s strict protocol requirements; and,

·           Alison McKane, Head of Legal Services, had lead responsibility to engage with IICSA, to ensure they were content with the Council’s approach, criteria and results; and document handling was done in supervision by a team of dedicated lawyers and paralegals.



1.         To agree the Council’s approach to the preparation for the Goddard Inquiry (IICSA).

2.         To agree the allocation of £2.2m to enable the preparation for the Independent Inquiry.

3.         To delegate to the Chief Executive the authority to formulate a draft compensation scheme on behalf of the organisation in consultation with stakeholders including survivors and insurers.