How will the Inquiry keep the public updated on what the next steps are/what the Inquiry is doing?
The Inquiry will publish updates on its work, including future modules and hearings dates, to its website and social media channels.
When will the hearings start?
The Inquiry will hold its first preliminary hearing for Module 1, which will investigate the UK’s pandemic preparedness and response, on Tuesday 4 October. The Inquiry will take evidence for Module 1 next spring.
A preliminary hearing will take place for Module Two in late autumn. Module 2 examines the UK’s core administrative and political decision making. The Inquiry will take evidence for Module 2 next summer.
What is the difference between preliminary and public hearings?
A preliminary hearing is a procedural hearing at which decisions about the procedure for the conduct of public hearings will be made. At public hearings the Inquiry will formally hear evidence, including from witnesses under oath.
How can the public follow a preliminary hearing?
A livestream of the preliminary hearing will be available to the public on a three minute delay via the Inquiry’s YouTube channel, and uploaded after the hearing. The Inquiry will also publish a transcript of the hearing on its website.
The preliminary hearing is also open to the public and will be held at 13 Bishop’s Bridge Road, London, W2 6BU (map). Places are on a first come, first served basis in the hearing room.
There is a dedicated annex outside the hearing room where you can follow the hearing.
Can I submit evidence to the Inquiry?
Now that the Inquiry has been formally established under the Inquiries Act (2005), we can begin formally gathering evidence. The Inquiry will contact those that it requires to provide evidence.
Individuals can engage more widely with the Inquiry by sharing their experiences of the pandemic through the Inquiry’s listening exercise.
How else will the Inquiry learn about the impacts of the pandemic?
The Inquiry will be commissioning its own research into the impacts of the pandemic and will also be seeking experts who will produce reports for consideration in the Inquiry’s hearings.
Individuals can engage more widely with the Inquiry by sharing their experiences of the pandemic through the Inquiry’s listening exercise, details of which will be shared in due course.
What is a Core Participant?
A Core Participant is an individual, institution or organisation that has a specific interest in the work of the Inquiry, and has a formal role defined by legislation. Core Participants have special rights in the Inquiry process. These include receiving disclosure of documentation, being represented and making legal submissions, suggesting questions and receiving advance notice of the Inquiry’s report. You do not need to be a Core Participant to provide evidence to the Inquiry.
Can I be a Core Participant?
The Inquiry will open different modules for individuals to apply to be Core Participants throughout its lifetime. More information on how to apply to be a Core Participant can be found here.
What is a module?
The Inquiry will be splitting its investigations into sections, or modules, which have different subject topics. This will ensure that the Inquiry’s investigations have sufficient breadth and depth.
How many modules will there be?
The Inquiry has currently announced three modules: 1) Resilience, planning and preparedness across the UK, 2) Core political decision making, and 3) Health care system.
The Inquiry will announce further modules in 2023. These will likely cover both ‘system’ and ‘impact’ issues including; vaccines, care sector, government procurement, test and trace, government business and financial responses across the UK; health inequalities, education, public services, public sector.
The Inquiry will also revisit issues in relation to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. More information on future modules will be released in due course.
How will devolution impact the Inquiry?
The UK Covid-19 Inquiry will look at the handling of the pandemic in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and this includes reserved and devolved matters.
A separate Inquiry is taking place in Scotland, which will evaluate areas where policy devolved to the Scottish Government, as set out in its Terms of Reference. The UK Inquiry will work with the Scottish Inquiry to avoid duplication of evidence and findings where possible.
What is the listening exercise?
In addition to the investigative process, the Inquiry will want to hear from people across the UK, ensuring that those who have suffered have the opportunity to take part in the Inquiry’s work. We are planning to begin an exercise to listen to people’s experiences of the pandemic in autumn 2022.