The Secretary of State has given the Victims and Survivors Forum his personal assurance that a decision will be taken by him in the autumn, in the absence of a sitting Assembly, to begin public consultation on the legacy institutions.
Following their meeting with James Brokenshire the members of the Forum felt they had successfully communicated their impatience with the delays to date and were happy with his fulsome agreement that this consultation had to happen now.
This is to ensure that the final legislation will be included in the 2018 parliamentary legislative timetable and will not be further deferred.
The Commissioner for Victims & Survivors and the Victims and Survivors Forum will begin background work immediately to advise on the shape of a constructive consultation process that will be accessible to all victims and survivors.
The Commission and the Victims and Survivors Forum are the statutory voice of the broad experience of victims and survivors and take very seriously the need for a robust and rigorous consultation.
The areas for consultation will be on the following:
Historical Investigations Unit
Independent Commission for Information Retrieval
Oral History Archive
Areas which remain in the gift of the Assembly and also need progressed in parallel are a Mental Health Trauma Service and a Pension for the Severely Injured.
The Commissioner, Judith Thompson said that while this was a pivotal commitment from the Secretary of State, the Commission and the Forum were not complacent.
“We recognise that what comes forward for consultation may not receive universal acceptance politically or from some victims’ groups, but we are determined that it will be the best compromise of all the needs of victims and survivors. If it is not, we will say so.
“The Secretary of State told us he was determined it would be good legislation and would stand the best chance possible of passing into law. We are equally committed to making that happen.”