Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry: resignation letter of Professor Michael Lamb

Reproduced below is the resignation letter (dated 28 June 2016) of Professor Michael Lamb (Cambridge University) that was sent to Mr John Swinney (Deputy First Minister, Scottish Government):
“Dear Mr Swinney,
After much thought and with deep regret, I must resign from my role as Member of the Panel for the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
I was deeply honoured to be appointed to the Panel last October.  With the assurance of complete independence, the Inquiry was invited to assess 1) the extent to which Scots had been abused while in public care, 2) how those experiences had affected and might be expected to affect their lives, 3) whether their maltreatment had been made possible by the failures of various care-providing, regulatory, investigative, criminal justice, and health service institutions, 4) whether further changes in these domains were necessary to avoid the recurrence of such abuse, and 5) whether the provision of services for survivors of abuse were historically, and are now, sufficient to redress the adverse effects of maltreatment.  These were worthy and noble goals, and I was eager to be involved in such an important endeavour alongside the distinguished chair, Susan O’Brien QC, and the other Panel Member, Mr Glenn Houston.
However, it has become increasingly clear over the last nine months that the Panel cannot act independently and that the Scottish Government intends to continue interfering in ways large and small, directly and indirectly.  Continuing interference threatens to prevent the Inquiry from investigating thoroughly and taking robust evidence of the highest quality.  To be worthwhile, the Inquiry must ask fearlessly about what happened to children in care, who and what institutions failed in their duty of care at the time and subsequently, how the affected individuals can ‘be made whole,’ and how we can ensure that such unconscionable events never happen again.  Crucially, its fact-finding should not be constrained or micro-managed by one of the bodies whose actions or failures to act may ultimately be criticised.
Repeated threats to the Inquiry’s independence have undermined the Panel’s freedom to address the Terms of Reference and have doomed the Inquiry before the first witness has been heard.  The Scottish Government has delayed or prevented the appointment of crucial members of staff for prolonged periods of time while its officials have questioned the decisions made by the supposedly independent Inquiry.  As a result of this interference, the Inquiry has been forced to work without the key personnel and resources needed to ensure progress.”
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