Monday, May 28, 2012

VERITA -2- TERMS OF REFERENCE












VERITA -2 - TERMS OF REFERENCE


WE CAN NOW SEE WHY SOME PEOPLE JUST DON'T WANT A COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY INTO DECADES LONG CHILD ABUSE IN JERESY


NO EXCUSE



NO EXCUSE FOR THE DELAY



ELECTORAL REFORM MORE IMPORTANT THAN DECADES OF CHILD ABUSE



SCANDALOUS 



The Verita  Terms of Reference are an excellent starting point.


The problem is in what their suggested TOR's will uncover. 

Here is a snippet:


. Establish, where abuse was suspected, whether 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


. Identify how and by what means concerns about abuse were raised and how and to whom they were reported. Did systems exist to allow children and others to raise concerns and safeguard their wellbeing?


. Determine whether, on reviewing files submitted by the States of Jersey Police for consideration as to whether, on reviewing files submitted by the states of Jersey Police for consideration as to whether or not a prosecution should be brought, those responsible for deciding on which cases to prosecute took a consistent and impartial approach and whether the process was free from any political interference at any level


"NOTHING TO HIDE NOTHING TO FEAR"


Verita were called in to help formulate a future Committee of Enquiry. The Chief Minister must be asked to explain what the problem has been. He must be asked if he believes political reform is more important than decades of unchecked abuse.


I publish the Verita suggested TOR's because its so important that people see that the only problem that bringing forward a Committee of Inquiry with robust TOR's is "FEAR"


FEAR & DREAD - At what will be exposed. 


During Oral Question tomorrow Deputy macon will ask the following. 


8. Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour will ask the following question of the Chief Minister – 

“Will the Chief Minister give an undertaking that there will be an official consultation process, with a clearly identifiable point of contact, to ensure that interested individuals and groups are able to contribute to the Committee of Inquiry into historical child abuses terms of reference and are kept informed of the Committees progress and, if not, why not?"




What must be asked is why the delay. Why have the Council of Ministers struggled with something as straight forward as these TOR's and a Committee of Inquiry.



Why is Decades of Abuse not treated with the upmost importance?



Here are the Verita TOR's


Rico Sorda


Team Voice

Part Time Investigative Journalist



Appendix 1

Committee of Inquiry into historical Child abuse in Jersey

Commissioner

The States of Jersey is the commissioner of this Committee of Inquiry. It is commissioned under standing orders and with reference to the powers laid down in the States of Jersey (powers, and Privileges and immunities) (committee of inquiry) Regulations 2007.

Context

The States of Jersey has commissioned this Committee of Inquiry to investigate the organisation, management and oversight of children's residential and fostering services in Jersey with an emphasis on the period after 1960. The inquiry will look at how concerns about reported abuse were dealt with by the relevant States organisations.

The purpose of the inquiry is to establish the facts, to provide learning, to enable reconciliation and resolution, to rebuild public confidence and trust, to hold to account and to demonstrate transparency of government by the inquiry examining this matter on behalf of the States of Jersey.







Terms Of Reference


The Committee of Inquiry is asked to do the following:



Establish the facts

. 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

. Determine the organisation (including recruitment and supervision of staff), management, governance and culture of children's homes and the social norms under which they operated.

. Examine the political oversight of childrens homes and fostering services by 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.

. Establish a chronology of significant changes in child care practice and policy during this period with reference to Jersey, the UK and, if appropriate, France

. Consider and appraise the independent investigations and reports conducted in response to the concerns raised in 2007


What was done in response to concerns of abuse?

. Consider the experiences of those witness who suffered abuse or believe that they suffered abuse and hear staff who worked in these services.

. Identify how and by what means concerns about abuse were raised and how and to whom they were reported. Did systems exist to allow children and others to raise concerns and safeguard their wellbeing?

. Consider how the education, health and social services department dealt with concerns about alleged abuse, what action they took and whether they were in line with the policies and procedures of the day.

. Establish, where abuse was suspected, whether 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

. Determine whether the concerns of 2007 were sufficiant to justify the States of Jersey Police setting in train Operation Rectangle

. Determine whether, on reviewing files submitted by the States of Jersey Police for consideration as to whether, on reviewing files submitted by the states of Jersey Police for consideration as to whether or not a prosecution should be brought, those responsible for deciding on which cases to prosecute took a consistent and impartial approach and whether the process was free from any political interference at any level


Children's services in 2011

. Set out what lessons can be learnt for the current system of residential and foster care services in Jersey



Government 

Review what actions the government took when concerns came to light in 2008 and what, if any, lessons there are to be learned 


General 

. 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 the work conducted since 2007

At an appropriate moment, the inquiry should hold a seminar(s) to enable a broader discussion of some of the themes raised by the evidence. The seminar(s) will not make recommendations to the chair but will provide ideas and information that will form of the material to be considered as the report is drafted 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

VERITA -1- A REPORT- WHAT ARE THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS DOING?








VERITA




IMPROVEMENT THROUGH INVESTIGATION



REPORT TO THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS;



HISTORICAL CHILD ABUSE COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY



NOVEMBER 2011




Over the coming weeks we will be examining the contents of the Verita Report and why this current Council of Ministers are finding it so difficult to deal with its contents.  When the Committee of Inquiry into 'Historica'l Child Abuse  was passed through the States of Jersey on the 1st March 2011 Verita was called into help formulate recommendations including terms of reference, cost forecasts and notes of actions needed to get commissioning underway. 


SO WHAT IS GOING WRONG!!!!!!!


Verita handed their report over in November 2011 


As we come into June 2012 we have nothing.


We have now had it confirmed by a Minister that the Council of Ministers cant agree on what Verita proposes and that the Chief Minister, Senator Gorst has called in Andrew Williamson, leader of the Jersey Child Protection Committee to help with proposed Terms of Reference. Just what is going on? More on Williamson in the next posting. 


This is just incredible.


The Verita Report is a very well written piece of work. It is a great starting block for the Committee of Inquiry. So why cant the Council of Ministers handle this report? Are there people inside the Council that don't want this inquiry? I would say YES. 

It is my belief that some people in Jersey see the Abuse Survivors as 

"UNTERMENSCH"


There cant be any other reason for all the stalling tactics that has anything to do with Child Abuse in the Jersey Care System.  


In 2011 I  went to Auschwitz - Birkenau.  I learnt a lot about the suffering of innocent people. I learnt a lot on that trip.  It makes me so angry as to what is going on in Jersey. Why are victims of Abuse treated so badly by this and previous 
Governments??? They have never willingly done anything for the Victims of Abuse.


There is no excuse.  There is simply no Excuse. None.  This has got to stop NOW. 


It's so important that everyone reads the Verita Report


It is an excellent starting point for a Committee of Enquiry


But some don't want a Committee of Enquiry - or, if we do have one, it must be so diluted as to be not fit for purpose.


The next posting will deal with Verita's proposed terms of reference 


Rico Sorda


Team Voice


Part Time Investigative Journalist



Ministers in Jersey have asked Verita to provide independent advice on the setting up of an inquiry into historical child abuse on the island.

Child abuse

Verita was asked to seek the views of interested parties about the purpose, manner and conduct of an inquiry; to propose terms of reference; to forecast likely costs; and to set out the practical implications of a decision to commission such an inquiry.
Managing partner Ed Marsden who led the work explains: "As with all key inquiries, particularly one as complex and emotive as this one, it's important to agree a clear purpose right from the outset. The terms of reference need to be appropriate, neither too narrow nor too broad, and the panel has to have the means to carry out the work that is being asked of it.
"Getting these basic steps right underpins the integrity of the entire inquiry process and its potential to ensure that lessons are learned."
Verita is experienced in providing independent professional advice to clients on how best to commission investigations that stand up to external scrutiny and are timely and cost effective.
For more information, please contact Ed Marsden on 020 7494 5670 oredmarsden@verita.net.






















































VERITA


IMPROVEMENT THROUGH INVESTIGATION


Report to the Council of Ministers:


Historical Child Abuse Committee of Enquiry



November 2011


Introduction

This paper sets out for the Council of Ministers a summary of our visit to Jersey in September 2011 and proposals for and recommendations about commissioning a Committee of Enquiry (CoI) into historical child abuse. The report appendices contain draft terms of reference, cost forecasts and a note of actions needed to get commissioning underway. 

Purpose of our consultative work

The Council of Ministers asked us to seek the views of interested parties about the purpose, manner  and conduct of a CoI; to propose terms of reference; to forecast likely costs; to set out the practical implications of a decision to commission such an enquiry; and to make a written report with recommendations.

Ed Marsden, managing partner of Verita, and Patricia Wright, an associate, carried outthe work. Verita's finance team calculated the likely costs of any inquiry.

Structure of this Report

The paper is in three parts. Part 1 summarises what we have learned during our visit. Part 2 contains our analysis and recommendations. Part three contains the appendices.

Preface

Operation Rectangle and recent criminal prosecutions involving the physical, mental and sexual abuse of children in residential care in Jersey have raised serious concerns. A total of 533 alleged offences were reported and recorded by the States of Jersey Police Operation Rectangle between September 2007 and December 2010. Of these 315 were reported as being committed at Haut De La Garenne children's home. Eight people have been prosecuted for 145 offences and seven convictions secured. Police identified 151 named offenders and 192 victims. No more prosecutions are proposed.

The States Assembly asked the Council of Ministers earlier this year to propose terms of reference for a possible CoI. Ministers in turn asked Verita to report on how such an inquiry might be framed. 

We are satisfied that we have heard the views of those with an interest in this matter. We set out as requested our suggestion about the terms of reference that should govern the inquiry. We make proposals about the nexxt steps in commissioning it.

Part 1

The first part of this paper summarises what we learned during our visit.

Who we met and the overall outcome of our discussions 

1.1 We came to Jersey between Sunday 4 September and Friday 9 September 201. We prepared for our visit by office-based research. We held 21 meetings and heard from a range of people including victims and their representatives,  States officers and politicians, including backbenchers and ministers. Most of our interviewees had responded to our invitation to contribute to the development of the ters of reference. we visited the Jersey Archive and asked the head of archives and collections about the documents held concerning historical child abuse. We met representatives of States of Jersey Police who were familiar with Operation Rectangle.

1.2  Some interviewees provided information and opinions in response to our questions. Others expressed views without prompting.  The following summary represents an overview of the main points.

1.3 Overall, we found clear agreement that the CoI should take place. Its purpose would be to:

. Understand what really happened to children cared for by the States and private foster care systems by; allowing victims of abuse to describe what happened to them; allowing those accused of abuse (but not charged with crime) to have their say and collating information from the range of investigations and reviews that have been undertaken over the last 20-30 years with a particular focus on those carried out since 2007.

. set this information in the context of social norms across the period to be reviewed 

. understand what went wrong, what was done at the time and who was accountable.

. ensure that current and future services are arranged so that children are protected

. ensure trust in children's services and the States supervision of them 

. ensure the reputation of Jersey with respect to child care


1.4 We found widespread agreement that the CoI was needed to close this chapter in the islands history and that the inquiry must be comprehensive.

1.5 We found general consensus that the CoI should;

. accept that abuse occurred and undertake a review within this context

. focus on systemic issues, although it was clear that individuals would want to have their say

. cover a period from 1960 - 2005, though some people thought it should be able to go back to the post-war period.

. take a historical perspective rather than review current services 

. deal with residential care and fostering services, state and privately provided

. focus as a minimum on all seven proposed terms of reference debated in the States Assembly earlier in the year.

1.6  Most people we heard from recognised that the inquiry was likely to be expensive. Some felt the money would be better spent on providing continuing support for the victims of abuse and improving services for children and young people.


People who have been in care


1.7 People who have been in care (care leavers) supported a systemic review and wanted individuals to have the opportunity to tell their story, even if it was traumatic. They felt the inquiry should work in public with the discretion to hear evidence in private. Some Wanted the opportunity to ask questions.

1.8 Care Leavers raised concerns about:

. Transparency of process for appointing the inquiry panel and the conduct of its work 

. Lack of trust of the Jersey 'Establishment'

. A perception that their concerns are not important

The inquiry process 

1.9 Our brief was to concentrate on what an inquiry would consider but the question of how it should be conducted was raised in many of the interviews. This section, therefore, highlights a number of points that Council of Ministers/States Assembly, the chair and panel will need to take into consideration if a satisfactory outcome is achieved.

Process of agreeing the terms of reference 

1.10 Everyone we head from appreciated that their views had been sought but some were sceptical about whether the full range of views would be incorporated into the proposition to be submitted to the States Assembly later this year. People recognised that the draft terms of reference would be discussed by the Council of Ministers before submission to the States but felt that care leavers and backbenchers should se the Verita report (including the draft terms of reference) before any proposition was laid in the States.

Recruitment of the chair

1.11 We found overwhelming agreement that whoever chaired the inquiry should not be connected with Jersey. The care leavers sought assurance that the chair would be independent and that they and others could play a part in the recruitment process so as to be confident of this.

1.12 We found mixed views about whether the chair should have a legal background or a caring background. People recognised that this may be determined by the availability of individuals interested in undertaking the role.

1.13  Most felt that the chair would need the following qualities;

. an appreciation of the historical and sociological features of the island 

. empathy

. trusted (by the people who had been in care)

.understanding of how to run an inquiry

. independence 

. unimpeachable integrity 

. strong but fair

. judicial background


Recruitment of the Panel

1.14 Views about whether panel members could be Jersey residents were more mixed and no consensus was achieved. Some thought that recruiting from the local community would give rise to concerns about independence.

Part 2

This part of the paper sets out our analysis and recommendations


Terms of Reference 

2.1 We took as our starting point the outcome of the States Assembly debate earlier this year. We reviewed the seven terms of reference the States debated. We also took into account views we heard during our visit and in particular we tried to reflect what victims and their representatives told us.

2.2 We suggest the inquiry focuses primarily on historical events but also considers lessons for services today ( see appendix 1 for terms of reference)  We propose that the inquiry should consider the 'system' of services rather than investigate individual allegations of abuse that might more properly be matters for  Jerseys criminal justice system.  The period to be covered is primarily 1960 to 2005. However, we drafted the terms of reference  with scope to consider the post-war period because abuse victims from that period are still alive.  We suggest that the inquiry considers the organisation  and supervision of services, how complaints of abuse where dealt with and what the government could learn from their handling of the matter following the events in 2008.

2.3 An inquiry is by nature inquisitorial but a number of people we met stressed the importance of the work being conducted in a non-adversarial way. The chair should set the tone of the inquiry.


Statutory basis of the Committee of Inquiry

2.4 The Committee of Inquiry would be commissioned under standing orders. It would have power to compel witnesses to attend and to have documents disclosed to it. The presumption is that most of the committees work would be in the public but the chair would have power to decide whether some proceedings took place in private in the interests of justice or in the public interest.

Scope of the Inquiry

2.5 The inquiry would gather evidence from interviews and documents. The evidential challenges are considerable because the inquiry would span about 50 years or more. However, our initial impression is that the CoI would have enough sources of information to meet its terms of reference.

2.6 We tried during our visit to establish the scale of the inquiry. We estimate that it would take evidence from between 60 and 100 victims (This figure cross refers to the number of civil claims and accords with views of the Jersey Care Leavers Association) We estimate that 100-125 other people may also be required to give evidence. It would take about six months to speak to this number of witnesses, assuming between three and four interviews a day.

2.7 A substantial amount of documentary evidence is available. The Jersey Archive holds about 500 boxes of documents, including admission registers, client files, staff and foster parent files and minutes and reports from oversight committees  (see appendix 2 for a description of the material) The education and law officers departments hold relevant material. States of Jersey Police hold information associated with Operation Rectangle, some of which the inquiry would want to see. Some of this is on paper, some of this is on paper, some is held on the Home Office  Large  Major Enquiry System (HOLMES) and only trained operators can retrieve it.


Logistical needs of the inquiry

2.8 The inquiry would need a secure base in Jersey and access to a neutral venue for conducting interviews. It should have its own confidential email and electronic document storage system.

2.9 The chair would be likely to need the services of a project manager/ inquiry secretary and a part -time legal adviser (we allow for four days a month in the costs). The legal adviser would need to be an advocate qualified to practise Law in Jersey. The chair might also request the servces of council.

2.10 The administrative burden asssociated with the inquiry is likely to be daunting. It would include, for example, establishing administrative system, receiving and responding to correspondence, organising and scheduling 200 or so interviews and making arrangements for travel and accommodation. A small dedicated team would need to carry out this work. This would be in addition to current resources available.

2.11 The chair would need a small team to gather, sort and read the available documents. This team would serve the documentary needs of the panel and liaise with the administrative team once hearings began.



Cost of the Inquiry

The costs of the inquiry are driven by a number of factors. The main ones are;

. The size of the panel - clearly the larger the panel the higher the costs 

. Whether the panel has counsel and witnesses are granted legal representation

. the number of interviews to be conducted 

. the quantity of documents to be reviewed 

. the organisation of the inquiry - robust management will help to ensure that timetables are adhered to and prevent unnecessary costs being incurred.

2.13

. The inquiry will run for about 1 year - 3 months in preparation, 6 months for hearings and a further 3 months for evaluation and drafting the report.

. the inquiry will have a chair and two panel members

.the panel will have a legal adviser for 1 day a week for the duration of the inquiry

. there will be just over 200 interviewees and the panel will see between three and four interviewees per day

. a project manager will act as inquiry secretary for 3 days per week for all phases of the inquiry ( i.e probably 12 months). He/She will have a small administrative support team working 5 days per week during the three month  preparatory stage; 6 days per week during the hearings and reducing to two days per week during the final evaluation/writing stage.

. a document team to review and identify the key documents for the panel . We have estimated this will take three people nine weeks on a full time basis.

. on this basis we estimate the cost, excluding legal fees, to be approximately £2.040 million (see appendix 3). T his splits into approximately £1.175 million of panel fees and £585K of fees for support to the inquiry panel including some support for the communications unit.  In addition we have allowed for travel and accommodation costs for the panel and support team as well as some travel costs for interviewees and the transcribing of oral evidence.

. The legal fees could be significant. They may be incurred under three headings: Legal advise for the panel (other than as above), legal costs of interviewees (if chair agrees to allow such) and legal costs for a review of earlier decisions about prosecution 
.


This is our best estimate based on the above assumptions and our knowledge to date. If there are material differences the estimate is likely to change 

2.14 There will be other requirements for the inquiry which we have assumed will be met from the internal resources, such as venue, offices for the inquiry team, a suitable room for the hearings , IT , telephones and general office costs.

2.15 From our discussions it is clear that the inquiry is likely to have cost implications foe a number of States departments and States of Jersey Police. For example, these could include liaising with the inquiry team, recovering documents, taking legal advice about disclosure and supporting those who are witnesses. It has not been possible to put a value on these costs

Disclosure of and Data Protection

2.16 Two potential obstacles came to light during our meetings. They concern disclosure and data protection.

2.17 First, it is likely that States of Jersey Police would need to take legal advice before releasing some of the information they hold.

2.18 Second, consent will be needed if the inquiry wanted access to the personal records of someone still alive.

2.19 We have asked the advice of HM Attorney General about these matters. He agrees that the States of Jersey Police will need to take  legal advice before releasing some of the information they hold. It may be appropriate that some of this advice is provided independently of the Law Officers Department 

2.20 We and HM Attorney General suggest that there should be a further discussion between the Jersey Data Commissioner and the Law Officers Department. We also recommended that there should be a discussion between the Committee of Inquiry and the Data Commissioner to ensure that Data is processed in an appropriate manner. This should include developing a protocol in relation to the processing of personal data.

Identifying and appointing a chair

2.21 We strongly recommend that the chair is independent of the island with no relationship or commercial interests with politicians, senior officers or other interested parties. On balance, we think the chair should be a senior lawyer because we think the inquiry might face significant challenges, including those to do with fairness. 

2.22 We advice that we prepare a role description and a person specification for the post of chair. We suggest we take informal soundings of suitable candidates and in doing so explain to them the task and the appointment process. Those interested should then be invited to apply through perhaps through the Jersey Appointments Commission. We suggest that victims representatives have the opportunity to meet the chair. This would be after the formal appointment but before the nomination was put to the States for approval.

2.23 We recognize that recruiting panelists from the island may seem desirable but we think it could undermine the perceived independence of the inquiry and that membership could put undue pressure on the individuals concerned. We favor seeking panellists from outside Jersey, with ideally at least  one from an island community. We suggest our advice is discussed with the chair once she/he is appointed.

2.24 The inquiry will also need access to independent expert advice including from a senior, experienced prosecutor from outside Jersey.

Handling the next steps

2.25 We heard the views of many people. We made clear that the decision about commissioning an inquiry rests with the Council Of Ministers and the States Assembly. Even so, the very act of consultation has inevitably raised expectations. Backbench politicians are keen to keep abreast of developments, while victims and their representatives want to ensure that the inquiry takes place and that their opinions count. We recommend that all parties are informed about progress and engaged in further discussions.

2.26 we suggest two possible ways of handling the commissioning of the inquiry (see appendix 4) 

2.27 The first option is for the chair to be recruited and his/her nomination should put to the States for approval at the same time as the draft terms of reference are debated. This will allow the chair to comment on the draft terms of reference and possibly speak to them before the debate in the states. We think this is an important way of binding the chair into the remit of the inquiry. It may also provide confidence to States Members about how the chair will conduct the inquiry. Approving the terms of reference and the chair nomination is likely to reduce the time needed to commission the inquiry but it is nevertheless only right to point out that this approach could mean that a chair who was already appointed was faced with significantly altered terms of reference as a result of amendments from States members during the debate.

2.28 The second option is for the States to debate the terms of reference and for the the chair to be recruited after this. The appointment would be subject of a further proposition to the states. This will allow the States the opportunity to debate the terms of reference and the likely costs and provide more time for recruiting the chair and panellists. However it assumes that the chair will not want a say in the terms of reference or the resourcing of the inquiry. Given the likely stature of the chair, we think that they are sure to want a say in both matters. This approach is likely to extend the timescale for commissioning the inquiry.

Recommendations

2.29 

1. The council of ministers should commission a Committee of Inquiry into historical child abuse. We suggest that the attched terms of reference form the basis of the committees work. We advise that these are proposed to the States Assembly.

2. The states should appoint an inquiry chair independent of the island. He/She should be appointed in a transparent and open manner and, ideally, should have the opportunity to comment on the terms of reference before they are finalised. On balance, we suggest that the chair has a legal background because He/She may need to deal with complex procedural challenges. We recommend that a role description and person specification be produced to guide the appointment process. Jersey appointments commission should be asked wether they wish to handle the appointment.

3. We advice that the chair be supported by one of the panellists not from the island: one panellists should have child care experience and a lay member should come from an island community

4. We suggest that the inquiry is supported by independent, robust project-management to ensure that it is conducted efficiently and effectively 

5. We suggest that victims representatives  and backbench politicians are kept informed of the inquiry commissioning plans.

6. We recommend that the CoI is conducted in a through and timely way so that this matter is laid to rest. We advise that it is commissioned and conducted properly or not al all.

7. We suggest that the inquiry commissioning actions suggested in the chart at appendix 4 are set in train.

8. We recommend that the attached terms of reference, cost estimate and nominations for chair and panellists are put to the States Assembly at the earliest opportunity 

Ed Marsden                          Patricia Wright 

Managing Partner               Associate