JUSTICE has submitted our response to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry Terms of Reference Consultation. Our response highlights the need to explicitly include an examination of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on minority communities within the terms of reference.
Informed by the findings of our 2019 report When Things Go Wrong, our response also recommends a number of steps the Inquiry should take to ensure that the voices of bereaved people and survivors are heard. These include:
- Increasing representation within the Inquiry by appointing a diverse panel to sit alongside the inquiry chair.
- Mitigating against institutional defensiveness by requiring public bodies, including care homes, to adopt Bishop James Jones’s “Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy”.
- Establishing a non-evidential forum to facilitate the therapeutic giving of testimony by bereaved people and survivors who do not wish to be formally involved in the Inquiry.
- Implementing measures to ensure effective accessible communication with those wishing to engage with the Inquiry.
- Holding Inquiry hearings in rotating venues throughout the UK.
- Making hearings available through live-stream and/or video recording.
- Giving the public access to information about the Inquiry, including evidence heard and documents referred to except where there is a compelling reason not to do so.
- Developing a bespoke document management system to safeguard the confidential information of bereaved people and survivors who contribute to the Inquiry.
- Providing more comprehensive signposting to those affected by the Inquiry.
- Introducing a formal process of oversight for the implementation of any recommendations the Inquiry makes.
Read our full response here.