Judge-led public inquiry to probe Scottish government handling of Covid crisis

Judge-led public inquiry to probe Scottish government handling of Covid crisis

John Swinney

A judge-led public inquiry into the Scottish government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic will be established by the end of the year, ministers announced today.

A consultation has been launched on the draft aims and principles of the inquiry, and the government said discussions are “underway with the Lord President to identify and appoint a judge to chair the inquiry”.

The proposed inquiry will “take a person-centred, human rights based approach with a focus on outcomes and timely reporting to identify lessons and recommendations”.

It will give particular consideration to the ‘four harms’ of the pandemic: direct health impacts of COVID-19, including cases and deaths in care homes; other non-Covid health impacts; societal impacts, including education; and economic impacts.

The public are now encouraged to share their ideas and comments on the suggested approach via email by 30 September 2021.

Deputy first minister and Covid recovery secretary John Swinney said: “Since the early stages of our pandemic response we have been committed to a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic in Scotland, to ensure that lessons are learned for the future. The publication of this aims and principles paper, as one of our 100 days commitments, is an important step towards the establishment of that inquiry.

“We will continue to listen to those affected by Covid-19, including bereaved families, on what they wish the public inquiry to focus on. Their feedback will be fundamental in reviewing the suggested approach set out here, and setting the terms of reference for an independent Scottish inquiry.

“Discussions are also ongoing with the UK government on the planned four nations inquiry, to ensure all areas that need to be considered are covered in a way that gives confidence to bereaved families and others.”

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