The Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry will carry out a “fair, open and thorough” investigation to establish what lessons should be learnt from the strategic response to the pandemic.
Lady Poole chair of the Inquiry has today, Wednesday 25 May, set out how the Inquiry will fulfil its Terms of Reference (ToR) and make recommendations to ensure Scotland is better prepared for the future.
A new dedicated website has now been launched and explains how the Inquiry team will carry out their investigations.
It also includes a section where the latest progress and developments will be detailed. It can be found at www.covid19inquiry.scot
Lady Poole said: “Responding appropriately to the Covid-19 pandemic has been a huge challenge.
“In Scotland all of us have been affected by the pandemic and the measures taken to handle it. The suffering and the hardship experienced by many across the country has been unprecedented.
“Covid-19 has left loss, heartbreak and tragedy in its wake. I want to take this opportunity to express my condolences to all those who have suffered, particularly to those who have lost people they love.
“People have legitimate questions about the handling of the pandemic in Scotland. This Inquiry had been set up to provide answers.
“My role as chair of the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry is to investigate aspects of the devolved response to the pandemic in Scotland and report about lessons learned.
“The Inquiry will not shy away from making findings where wrong decisions were made or where the response was inadequate or fell short.”
Before setting up the Inquiry, Scottish Ministers consulted on the ToR. The Scottish Government’s consultation report can be found here.
The ToR which the Scottish Ministers have given the Inquiry were informed by the consultation. They list 12 areas for investigation which cover aspects of health, education, and financial support.
Lady Poole added: “We are in independent Inquiry and will carry out a fair, open and thorough investigation.
“The Terms of Reference do not attempt to present a definitive list of every issue or every person that the inquiry will consider. Instead, they specify areas of investigation, and the Inquiry will interpret them with flexibility to ensure particular groups or themes are not excluded. Human rights and equalities are important to the Inquiry and will be taken into account throughout its work.”
The Inquiry is currently in its establishment phase and has been proceeding at pace with recruiting an Inquiry team and putting in place premises and vital infrastructure.
The establishment phase is also a period of planning for the next stage of the Inquiry, the investigatory stage.
As part of the planning process, the Inquiry commissioned introductory scoping research from academic institutions including the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Highlands and Islands, and Birmingham.
The scoping research will assist the Inquiry with decisions about the shape and direction of its investigation. The research will be published on the Inquiry’s website in the coming weeks.
Lady Poole said: “We will investigate the facts about the handling of the pandemic, to find out what lessons have been learned, both positive and negative, and we will make recommendations for the future.
“We want the Inquiry to lead to Scotland being better prepared if something like this were ever to happen again.”