Alleged child abuse victims are having their right to payouts decided by people who did not even show up to their hearings, Islington Council has admitted.

Five applicants to the council’s Support Payment Scheme for abuse survivors have showed up to their appeal hearings to find only one of the three panellists has turned up.

The appeals themselves are contentious - with some applications refused despite witnesses and files backing up their claims.

Yet the missing panellists are still then deliberating over applicants’ cases, deciding whether they should receive pay-outs.

Islington Council says that is OK, because the absentees can catch up by reading the minutes.

“It’s extraordinary,” said Dr Liz Davies, founder of the Islington Survivors Network (ISN), which supported each of the five applicants at their hearings.

“We are bothering to show up. One man came all the way from Newmarket in a train strike and got there in person, whereas the panellists – who were only attending virtually anyway – didn’t show up. It’s not right.”

The Support Payment Scheme, which launched in May 2022 and closes this week, was set up after Islington admitted and apologised for decades of abuse in its children’s homes.

Alleged abuse included staff neglecting children, supplying them with booze and drugs, supplying them to paedophiles and forcing them to terminate babies.

The scheme offers abuse survivors £10,000 to help them cope with the ongoing impacts on their lives.

But the Gazette has reported how some were turned down for supposedly insufficient evidence, despite witnesses and files corroborating their accounts.

One woman was turned down for insufficient evidence she was in the home, despite having supplied photos of herself there with the staff.

Those initially denied the payment were invited to appeal hearings at the council’s offices in Upper Street.

“The chair was quite responsive. This is not a criticism of her,” said Dr Davies. “She was very professional and caring in her approach.

“But she said the other panellists had other commitments and couldn’t attend, yet would still participate in the decision-making later.

“She also said, very clearly, that they might not agree with her because they weren’t there.”

Islington Council said: “Not all members of an applicant’s appeals panel need to be present at the meeting, since the meeting minutes, along with any extra documentary evidence supplied, are shared with the panel members to enable them to arrive at a decision.”