Inquiry costs have soared by £13 million from the end of 2021
By Democrat reporter
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry (SCAI) has so far cost taxpayers £65 million as it heads into its eight year with no end in sight.
It was set up by the SNP Government in October 2015 and was initially due to report by 2019, although this deadline was later scrapped.
The total expenditure from 2015 to September 30, 2022 has been £61 million. The expenditure from October 1 to the end of December last year was £3.7 million, which is the most expensive quarter to date and brought the total to close to £65 million. The second most expensive was from January 1 to March 2022 when the investigation spent £3.6 million.
Costs for SCAI soared by £13 million from the end of last year publishing the latest figures for the past six months today.
Bosses say it is modelled on the successful Royal Commission inquiry in Australia, which was set up in 2013 and published its final report in 2017. It looked at abuse in dozens of settings including educational institutions, religious groups, sporting organisations, state institutions and youth organisations.
The Australian probe completed 57 case studies while the Scottish one has only completed eight, although the two are set up differently and each Scottish case study can include several different institutions.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse cost the Australian taxpayer around £219 million.
The SCAI has completed hearings in child migration, boarding schools, including multiple schools, and a round table into the psychology of an abuser. It started its eighth case study in May on foster care, which ended in December 2022.
Lady Smith will now consider all the evidence and issue her findings as soon as practicable.
The inquiry has listed the seven completed case studies on its website: Daughters of Charity, Sisters of Nazareth, Quarriers, Aberlour and Barnardos, Christian Brothers, Benedictines, Scottish Government and the most recent one published is Marist Brothers, published in November, 2021.
The eighth phase will look at the abuse of children in residential accommodation for young offenders and children and young persons in need of care and protection during the second half of 2023.
The inquiry aims to raise public awareness of the abuse of children in care, is considering evidence up to December 17, 2014, and which is within the living memory of any person who suffered abuse.
SCAI also held a round-table meeting in March last year with the findings published in July, which investigated the psychology of individuals who abuse children. It also has published 10 research pieces into children in care.
It has also announced more than 100 focused investigations to date.
It follows the recent reports that the inquiry has failed to investigate the ‘well-founded’ claims by part-time sheriff and advocate John Halley about the 1990 police investigation known as Operation Planet that looked into an establishment paedophile ring that included, well-known TV personalities, judges, lawyers and senior police officers.
The investigation initially resulted in 57 charges against 10 men, later reduced to 10 charges against five men whose not guilty pleas were accepted by a court in February 1991.
Mr Halley also called on the inquiry to include Tam Paton and his associate John ‘Sticky’ Wilson in 2019 four years prior to Wilson being jailed for multiple sexual offences.
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry had already heard from survivors of Nazareth House children’s home in Lasswade, Midlothian, and St Joseph’s Hospital in Rosewell, Midlothian, which Jimmy Saville and Tam Paton regularly visited.
Both institutions have already been scrutinised by the inquiry without any evidence about Paton or his alleged paedophile network being made public.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Justice Secretary Jamie Greene MSP, pictured right, said: “Everyone values the in-depth investigation into this horrific child abuse – a public inquiry is vital for unearthing the truth of these cases.
“But the ever-mounting costs of the inquiry, which have now stretched to a staggering £65 million, is symptomatic of just how long it is taking to uncover the truth. For the sake of the victims, this must be resolved.
“The SNP who have a moral duty to ensure that this inquiry is concluded as efficiently as possible so that the victims can be given full justice from these appalling crimes.”
A spokesman for the SCAI said: “The Inquiry continues to make excellent progress towards fulfilling its very wide Terms of Reference. This has included 345 days of public hearings to date .
“As part of its extensive remit, SCAI has announced over 100 focused investigations to date and investigations are ongoing. Lady Smith has published eight sets of detailed case study findings to date. In the coming months further case study findings will be published including those relating to child migration and the beginning of a series of findings in relation to boarding schools.
“A case study examining the abuse of children in Foster Care began on 3rd May 2022 and public hearings concluded in December 2022. Over 7 months, evidence was given by over 250 witnesses, many being able to share their experiences for the first time.
“In excess of 40,000 relevant documents were involved in the case study and evidence from experts, local authorities, independent fostering agencies, foster carers, family members and social workers was also presented. This year SCAI will hold public hearings at which further expert evidence will be explored and in relation to its case study relating to the abuse of children in residential accommodation for young offenders and children and young persons in need of care and protection.
“SCAI’s work of investigation and evidence analysis will also continue throughout the year. SCAI has committed to publishing its costs on a quarterly basis to ensure it remains open and transparent.
“The Inquiries Act 2005 obliges the Chair to have regard to costs at all times. and throughout the inquiry process all efforts have been and are made to ensure the Inquiry delivers best value. The Inquiry continues to actively encourage anyone who has relevant information to get in touch.”
Top picture: The notorious Smyllum children’s home in Lanarkshire where children were abused by staff.
£65 million so far to with the enquiry aim to raise public awareness of the abuse of children in care.
Is that before or after the trans charter where biological males can access woman only spaces. Or what about the grooming so now built into the school system where teachers are being encouraged to support one on one pet names that no one else, teacher or parent knows about.
Sounds more like much much much of this enquiry is job creation for the great and the good legal professionals. But don’t work, with all the new trans regulation in schools, and all the now extant threat to woman, real woman that is, it wont be long until there’s more abuse enquiries.
Sturgeon may be a defrocked lawyer after being found guilty of malpractice but at least she knows how to keep the legal fees flowing.