Child abuse inquiry

21 Feb 2017 02:26 PM

Glenn Houston resigns from panel

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has accepted the resignation of Glenn Houston from the Child Abuse Inquiry panel and thanked him for his positive contribution.

Mr Houston has stood down as a panel member due to a change of circumstances in his working life. He has been a member of the panel since October 2015 sharing his expertise in health and social care and providing ongoing support to the inquiry’s important work.

On his resignation, Mr Houston said:  

“Due to a change in priorities in my working life, last year I applied for positions as a non-executive director to the boards of two public sector organisations, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the Disclosure and Barring Service. I have now been successful in those applications and the appointments have been made.

“Lady Smith and I have discussed the potential that at some future time, a perception of conflict of interest may arise between these appointments and my work as a panel member on the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

“After careful consideration of both the time commitment required to fulfill these new roles and the potential, however small, for perceptions to arise of conflict of interest, I have tendered my resignation to the inquiry.

“I was honoured to be appointed to the inquiry panel and feel that, collectively, the inquiry team has made significant progress. I remain fully supportive of its work, which I believe is on course to complete the important tasks which have been set for it, and I wish it very well for the future.“

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“I want to thank Mr Houston for his service. I know this was not an easy decision for him to reach, but he can be very proud of the contribution he has made to the establishment of the Child Abuse Inquiry and to ensuring its continuing progress.

“Following consideration of the matter, at this stage in the inquiry’s work, I have decided not to appoint a successor. Lady Smith will continue as chair of the inquiry and as sole panel member.  This will mean it will take the same format for as every other public inquiry established in Scotland under the Inquiries Act 2005.”

Background

  • The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is held under the Inquiries Act 2005 (“the Act”) and is a Scottish Inquiry in terms of Section 1(2)(b) and Section 28 of the Act. Panel members, along with the Chair form the Inquiry Panel in terms of the Act.
  • Glenn Houston was appointed by the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in October 2015 under Section 4(1) if the Inquiries Act following an application process in the summer of 2015. Mr Houston was appointed alongside Professor Michael Lamb and Susan O’Brien QC as Chair (who took up appointment in July 2015).
  • Following the resignations of the former Chair, Susan O’Brien QC and Professor Michael Lamb as Panel member in July 2016 Mr Houston remained in post working alongside Lady Anne Smith who was subsequently appointed by Ministers as Chair in August 2016.
  • On 17 November 2016 John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills announced in Parliament that he would not be appointing a Panel member to replace Professor Lamb and the Inquiry would process with Lady Smith and Mr Houston forming the Panel.
  • Following Mr Houston’s resignation Lady Smith will continue as Chair of the Inquiry and as sole panel member. There may be the need in time of further specialist knowledge and the Inquiries Act 2005 permits Lady Smith to appoint Assessors if she chooses to do so.
  • Recent Scottish Inquiries held under the Act are the Fingerprint Inquiry, Penrose Inquiry, Vale of Leven Inquiry, and the Edinburgh Trams Inquiry and they have all proceeded without Panel members other than the Chair and specialist assessors where required.