THE inquiry into historic cases of childhood abuse has called for whistleblowers to shed light on past offences as it emerged costs have risen by £1 million in the last three months.

As the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry published updated details of how it will handle anonymity for witnesses and manage evidence, it urged foster carers, health staff and children’s home workers to come forward insisting they will be protected.

It comes as overall costs for the inquiry rose to £3.5m.

Speaking to people who have worked with children in the Scottish care system would help build a picture of what happened, the inquiry says.

A general restriction order also offers whistleblowers protection from identification.

A key passage says: “Witnesses will be anonymous. You may for example be a whistleblower... in such circumstances you may wish to apply for anonymity.”

The inquiry team, spearheaded by Lady Smith, is also calling for former care home staff, social workers, GPs and those involved in any way in the running of care institutions to come forward if they have documents likely to be of interest.

The only individuals named are likely to be those who have already admitted to abuse or been convicted of abuse.

Witnesses to the inquiry will be protected by a general restriction on publication of their names to protect them and their family from “the risk of harm” unless they consent to being identified.

However, anyone named as an abuser will be made aware of the allegation and, in the interests of fairness, also learn who made the complaint.

Meanwhile, any allegations of criminal conduct will also be shared with Police Scotland, so it can be determined whether accused people may pose a risk to children.

“It is not for us to assess that risk,” the inquiry says.

The new papers have been published alongside an update on the inquiry’s spending.

Since launching 18 months ago, the inquiry has spent £3,535,050, with costs having risen by £1,017,000 in the last month alone.

Alan Draper, spokesman for the victims group In Care Abuse Survivors Scotland (Incas), said. “To offer protection for whistleblowers in this way is important.

“We want people to help the inquiry and there is a danger that some, perhaps those currently working in establishments, could be intimidated by their current or former employer.

“We welcome any moves to get abuse survivors to come forward or anyone who can blow the whistle because they have witnessed abuse or appalling practices.”

He said the call for those with documents chronicling abuse to come forward was also welcome and said there should be a breakdown of how the inquiry’s money is being spent.

“These are huge and growing and it is right that they are spent,” he said.

“But redress for survivors is at least as important, and the Government is still dragging its feet on even holding discussions with us,” he said. “The people who have suffered most are getting nothing.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry said: “We have been in contact with a number of organisations‎ about accessing their documents for some time. The Inquiry welcomes contact from anyone with information relevant to the important work it is carrying out.”