Home Office Blames Woolf for not divulging information about impartiality

The Home Office have finally released Fiona Woolfs Confirmation of Appointment letter pdf download [3][also see below] from Theresa May dated 17 October 2014, in reply to a Freedom of Information Request [1] . They have also replied to some other questions about the child sexual abuse inquiry pdf download [2] [also see below]

Theresa May’s confirmation letter refers to a letter sent by Woolf to May on October 11th accepting the Chairmanship of the Independent Panel Inquiry. It also refers to a formal letter of appointment with terms and conditions that was enclosed with May’s letter. However this has not been referred to or provided in their reply to me.

@MySweetLandlord has pointed out, Woolf was announced Chair on the 5th September, yet was not officially appointed until 6 weeks later on 17 October! A week after her accepting. If the Home Office had done proper due diligence, why was Woolf asked for a self-declaration of impartiality?

The Home Office offered a perfunctory apology for the reply being 5 months later than it should have been under the FOI Act.

MAywoolf1

Maywoolf2)

In the other questions answered, the Home Office appear to blame Fiona Woolf for not disclosing anything that would affect her ability or impartiality to carry out the role as Chairman. This may appear a tad hypocritical seeing as it was the Home Office that help draft her letters to the …er Home Office.

They contradict Fiona Woolf’s assertion, that she made in a Home Affairs Select Committee Meeting, that due diligence was not carried out until after appointing her. However they then weakly say that officials began due diligence checks before Woolfs appointment [presumably on 17 Oct], whilst ignoring the question asked of when the rest of the due diligence was supposedly carried out or what it comprised.

They avoided the question of how much the former and current panel were paid. They also evaded the question of estimated budget and length of the inquiry by stating it will ensure “appropriate funding” and say it would not be appropriate to estimate the duration.

Interestingly they state a purpose for the inquiry, which I have not seen before in these terms “to get to the truth about how it was possible for child abuse to take place in institutions in England and Wales and why nothing was done”

The FOI reply avoids the question, with some survivor platitudes, as to whether survivors will actually give evidence or whether it is a systemic review.

Similarly when asked what mechanism is available to get to the truth about MI5 covering up child abuse, the Home Office states that “we’ve promised the fullest degree of cooperation by all of HM Government and its agencies to determine the facts”.  I am not sure what that means. Does a promise have legal backing? Does a Home Office promise bind all of Government and other agencies, and future governments?

I have requested an internal review on the request [1]  on its time delay and on the content. The Home Office public servants appear to not treat seriously their duty under the statute of the Freedom of Information Act. The time delay, means it the reply and information are less relevant and topical and means that no MP can be brought to account over its contents at the present time.

HOfoi1 HOfoi2

HOfoi3)

Links

[1] Freedom of Information Request  https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/overarching_child_sexual_abuse_i#incoming-633230

[2] FOI Answer Answer https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/235780/response/633230/attach/3/Final%20response%2033354.pdf

[3] FOI Answer May letter to Woolf download https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/235780/response/633230/attach/4/2014.10.17%20HS%20Fiona%20Woolf%20CBE%20JP%20CSE.pdf

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

[B] NAPAC http://www.napac.org.uk/

[C] One in Four http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/

[D] Havoca http://www.havoca.org/HAVOCA_home.htm

[E] SurvivorsJustice Triggers post http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/

[F] SurvivorsJustice Blog http://survivorsjustice.com/

This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email cathyfox@bigfoot.com.

cathyfox the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free

Text of Home Office Reply

Thank you for your e-mail of 24 October, in which you ask questions about the
Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.  Your request has been handled as a
request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am sorry for the
delay in replying to your request.

I am able to disclose the following information in response to the questions you asked:-

Q1. Please could you state when the due diligence was carried out on Fiona Woolf for
being chair of the overarching child abuse inquiry? What did it comprise of?

Prior to Dame Fiona’s appointment the Home Office and the Cabinet Office carried out
checks on Dame Fiona’s background and interests. As part of these checks she was
asked if there was anything she should disclose which would affect her ability or
impartiality to carry out the role of Chairman.

The Home Secretary was advised that there was nothing in Dame Fiona’s past which
would compromise her ability to perform this role in an impartial and objective way.  This
advice is unchanged.

Q2. Woolf appeared to say in the HASC that the due diligence was not carried out until
after Theresa May appointed her, after September is this correct?

No – as stated in reply to the first question, officials began due diligence checks before
Dame Fiona’s appointment.

Q3. Please could you send me a copy of Fiona Woolf’’s appointment letter.

This is enclosed with the reply.

Q4. Please could you say how much each of the panel are being paid.

Since you made your request, the Home Secretary has disbanded the former Inquiry and
Panel and set up a new statutory Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005.  She has also
appointed Justice Lowell Goddard as Chairman and, in consultation with Justice Goddard,
appointed four Panel members (Drusilla Sharpling, Professor Alexis Jay, Ivor Frank and
Malcolm Evans) who were assessed as most strongly matching the published criteria.


This can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-inquiry-
into-child-sexual-abuse-criteria-for-panel. 
    .

The pay of those appointed by the Home Secretary will be in line with other public
inquiries.

Q5. Please could you tell me the estimated budget for the panel and the estimate of how
long the panel is expected to be in operation before it produces its final report.

The Government will ensure appropriate funding is made available for the Inquiry to carry
out its functions as part of a cost-sharing arrangement across Government.

The purpose of this independent Inquiry is to get to the truth about how it was possible for
child abuse to take place in institutions in England and Wales and why nothing was done.
It is not appropriate, to estimate the duration of the Inquiry. This will depend on the
Inquiry’s agreed methodology. It is expected that the Chairman will want to balance the
need to achieve a successful outcome with the need to work at an effective pace.

Q6. It appears unclear if survivors are to give evidence or whether is just a systemic
review, please could you state if survivors are going to give evidence.

Survivors have been instrumental in the setting up of this statutory Inquiry, and both
Justice Goddard and the Home Secretary are clear that they must also have a strong
voice in the work of the Inquiry as it now moves forward. Justice Goddard has announced
her decision to create a survivors consultative panel, which will be made up of survivors
and their representatives. Further details of this can be found on the Inquiry’s website:
https://childsexualabuseinquiry.independent.gov.uk/

Q7. What mechanism is available to enable the inquiry to get to the truth about allegations
of MI5 and other secret services covering up child abuse, allowing child abuse to go ahead
for nefarious purposes under the guise of national security?

The Home Secretary has given assurances that the Official Secrets Act is not a bar to
giving evidence. It is clear that individuals covered by the Act, including the security
services can give evidence with lawful authority. We’ve promised the fullest possible
degree of co-operation by all of HM Government and its agencies to determine the facts.
This includes the Security Service and the Ministry of Defence.

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About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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