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The Lambeth Redress Scheme

Lambeth Council has published its Redress Scheme that will provide compensation for the survivors of sexual, physical and mental abuse at its children’s homes.

First and foremost, Lambeth Council has publicly acknowledged that:-

“Terrible abuse occurred at Lambeth children’s homes prior to their closure in the ‘80s and ‘90s and for many the trauma suffered by survivors lives on to this day."

Cllr Lib Peck, the Lambeth Council leader went onto say

“As the current leader of Lambeth Council, I make a full and genuine apology for the abuse that people suffered due to historic failings in the care system. We’ve taken the decision not to be like past administrations and instead to address the issues from a very dark period of Lambeth’s history.

We are now set to deliver on our pledge to survivors of abuse who have been so very badly let down in the past. This redress scheme offers a formal apology, compensation and access to specialist counselling. It features a unique Harm’s Way Payment and avoids re-traumatising abuse survivors who would otherwise have no choice but to go through the courts.

We have acted now to deliver this scheme because survivors have already waited too long for redress and there is sadly little prospect of national action on this issue in the near future.

I thank the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association who have worked tirelessly to support survivors and to raise the profile of the terrible abuse that occurred in Lambeth children’s homes.”

It is right that Lambeth should be congratulated on the stance it is now taking.  It is welcome news for abuse survivors and Lambeth is the first in the country to create such a redress scheme.  Let us hope that other Council’s follow suit and the scheme will serve as a model for the compensation of survivors of other children’s homes.

It is intended the Redress Scheme will provide a quick and sympathetic approach to compensation claims.  Lambeth estimate the cost of the Redress Scheme could exceed £100 million.  Financial provision has been set aside from the Council budget.  Lambeth has also been working with central Government to help with the funding of the Redress Scheme.  A Capitalisation Direction has been obtained from Central Government that will allow the Council to borrow the money to fund the Redress Scheme.  As a result, it is hoped Lambeth will not need to raise Council Tax to fund the Redress Scheme.

Who Can Apply?

Anyone who was a resident in a Lambeth run children’s home will be eligible.  It does not matter where in the country that child came from or who was the “Placing Authority”.

What Payment Scheme Applies to Me?

There are two schemes and two types of payment: -

The Harm’s Way Payment

This is a payment made for Applicants who were resident at a Lambeth Children’s Home and: -

1.  Feared that they would be physically and/or sexually abused, and/or

2.  Who were neglected and/or

3.  Suffered cruelty

Under the Harms Way Payment successful Applicants will receive a payment of up to £10,000 each depending on the length of time spent at the Children’s Home as follows: -

More than 6 months - £10,000;

Between 3 & 6 months - £5,000;

More than 1 week and up to 3 months - £2,500;

Less than 1 week - £1,000.

You will not need to be medically examined to qualify for a Harm’s Way Payment. 

The Individual Redress Payment 

This is a payment to Applicants who were resident at a Lambeth Children’s Home and/or Shirley Oaks Primary School and who suffered: -

1.  Sexual abuse and/or

2.  physical abuse and/or

3.  Psychological injury where specified criteria is met

The Individual Redress Payment will be assessed using a tariff according to the severity of the abuse and the harm it caused you.  To establish how the abuse has affected you under the Individual Redress Payment you may need to be assessed by a Consultant Psychiatrist who will be drawn from a list of independent medical experts.

Can I Instruct a Lawyer?

Yes.

Both the Harms Way Payment and the Individual Redress Scheme anticipate you may want to instruct a lawyer, particularly as the application process may be confusing and the medical assessment could be traumatic. 

Under the Harms Way Payment, in addition to the compensation you receive, Lambeth Council will pay your lawyer fixed legal costs. 

Under the Individual Redress Payment, in addition to the compensation you receive, Lambeth Council will pay your lawyer reasonable legal costs and expenses.  

What Should I ask a Lawyer?

Both the Harms Way Payment and the Individual Redress Scheme are new and have not been implemented before so do not be surprised if there are lawyers who have no prior experience of the Schemes.  However, you should ask whether the lawyer has experience of bringing claims for compensation on behalf of the survivors of sexual and physical abuse.  Try and choose a specialist rather than someone simply because he or she is local.  The internet now means that you can choose a lawyer from anywhere in the country.

Ask your lawyer to work on a “No Win No Fee Agreement”.  Under this arrangement, if for any reason, you are not compensated then you will not owe your lawyer any money. 

Make sure that if you instruct a lawyer he agrees not to charge you more than the amount that Lambeth Council will pay him otherwise you will end up losing some of your compensation.

Sometimes Lawyers try and charge clients an additional “Success Fee”.  This is a payment from you to the lawyer.  Lambeth will not pay a Success Fee, so it will have to come from your compensation.  Make sure your lawyer does not intend to charge a Success Fee.

Cllr Peck said:

“We have designed the scheme to make sure that survivors get the compensation they are entitled to swiftly and compassionately, and without their payments being eaten up by lawyers’ fees.

Why Robsonshaw?

At Robsonshaw Solicitors we specialise in bringing claims for compensation on behalf of survivors who have been sexually, physically or mentally abused, often many years ago.  We have a very good understanding of the complexities of claims and how important it is to empathise with clients’ who are often still traumatised by their experiences. 

We will offer a No Win No Fee Agreement to all claimants under the Lambeth Redress Scheme and we have decided not to charge a Success Fee to our clients who instruct us to claim compensation under the Lambeth Redress Scheme.

For a free, confidential and no obligation discussion about the Lambeth Redress Scheme claim please call Samantha Robson on 01392 345331 or Robert Shaw on 01392 345332, or email us on enquiries@robsonshaw.uk.