10 This Bill makes provision for the establishment of a Redress Board and a statutory Commissioner. The role of the Commissioner is to act as an advocate for those who were subject to abuse by ensuring the co-ordination and availability of services and identifying suitable means whereby such services can be made available to those who need them. Specifically, the Inquiry report recommended that the office of the Commissioner should be created by statute, allocated a separate budget and required to report once a year to the NI Assembly. This will ensure that the office is independent and adequately resourced.
11 The purpose of the Redress Board is to oversee payments of compensation to those who had been abused in residential children’s homes within the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference. Specifically, the Inquiry report recommended that the Board should have the necessary powers to compel institutions or individuals to provide information relating to a claim for compensation, particularly if the alleged abuse occurred in an institution that was not investigated by the Inquiry. In this regard, establishing the Board on a statutory basis gives the Board this requisite power and reduces the risk of legal challenge.