The draft Action Plan sets out how the council will respond to the report “Children in the care of Lambeth Council”, published by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in July this year. The IICSA investigation examined the scale and nature of sexual abuse experienced by children in the former care of Lambeth Council over several decades, spanning the 1960s to the 1990s, and the extent of institutional failures to protect children in care from sexual abuse and exploitation.
The first of the three recommendations in the inquiry report was that, within six months, Lambeth should produce “a comprehensive action plan which details the actions that it will take in response to the issues raised throughout the Inquiry’s investigation report”. IICSA also stipulated that the action plan “should be accompanied by timescales for completing identified actions as soon as possible”.
Lambeth has co-operated fully and transparently with IICSA throughout the inquiry process, to understand what happened to the children in its care, to examine the institutional failings, and to learn from the findings to ensure these failings are never allowed to happen again.
The council has apologised for the neglect and abuse experienced by children in its care, and established a redress scheme that has paid more than £70 million in compensation to victims and survivors of abuse at the borough’s former children’s homes.
Before IICSA’s report was published, Lambeth had taken a number of actions, including addressing vetting and mandatory training for councillors, on corporate parenting and safeguarding.
The council’s Action Plan, which will be discussed at a meeting of the Children’s Services Scrutiny Sub-Committee next week, aims to “deliver meaningful change and impact for our children and young people in care”.
It is based around eight themes, each setting out a statement of high-level commitments, in response to IICSA’s findings, including: listening to the voice of children and young people in care; leadership; political and organisational culture and accountability. The committee report states that: “These commitments provide the overarching framework under which specific actions can then deliver real and lasting change for children and young people in care.”
The proposals have been presented to various forums for review and challenge – including the Lambeth Safer Children Partnership, Lambeth Adult Safeguarding Board, and the Corporate Parenting Board (which includes our Children in Care
Council who are Board members). Their feedback, along with the views of young people in care, have been incorporated into the 62 actions within the plan.
The council’s operational directors have been given responsibility for delivering on the actions, and their progress will be regularly monitored, including through regular reports to councillors and the council’s Chief Executive.
The draft Action Plan will go to a Cabinet meeting on 13 December, then to a meeting of Full Council, of every councillor in the borough, for approval.
Word from the Cabinet
Councillor Claire Holland, Leader of Lambeth Council, said: “The council sincerely apologises to all victims and survivors of abuse and neglect formerly in Lambeth’s care.
“Lambeth was responsible for their care and protection but failed, with profound consequences, and we are committed to righting the wrongs of the past, as far as we are able. More than £70 million has been paid in compensation to survivors of abuse at the borough’s children’s homes, and Lambeth Council is the only local authority in the country to have opened a redress scheme of this kind.
“But we know we have much more to do, and this comprehensive action plan is the latest step in our improvement journey. We must now make sure that it is implemented in full to meet our determination to ensure that such widespread failure can never be repeated.”
The Lambeth Redress Scheme pays compensation to people who were abused or lived in fear of being abused while in Lambeth’s care as children. The scheme closes on Saturday, 1 January 2022 at 5pm, and all applications must be made before this deadline.
Full details of how to apply are here. To avoid delay, new applications should be sent by email, to email@example.com if possible. If you have recently submitted an application but have not received an acknowledgement, please contact us as soon as possible for confirmation that it has been received.