Today, the Chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, Baroness Hallett, has set out plans to open three further investigations in 2023 and confirmed she aims to conclude public hearings by summer 2026.
Last year, I promised I would work hard to ensure the whole of the UK can learn useful lessons from the pandemic as quickly as possible.
Today I am providing greater clarity on our investigations and the likely end point for the Inquiry’s hearings.
The Inquiry is split into different investigations, which will examine different parts of the UK’s preparedness for and response to the pandemic and its impact. So far, the Inquiry has opened three investigations: into the UK’s pandemic preparedness and resilience (Module 1); core political and administrative decision making in the UK and devolved administrations (Modules 2, 2A, 2B and 2C); and the impact of the pandemic on healthcare systems (Module 3).
The Inquiry will begin hearing evidence for Module 1 in public hearings on 13 June 2023. Public hearings will begin for Module 2 (decision-making across the UK) in October 2023. This will be followed by public hearings for Module 2A (decision-making in Scotland) in January 2024, Module 2B (decision-making in Wales) in February 2024 and Module 2C (decision-making in Northern Ireland) in April 2024. We expect Module 3 hearings to begin in autumn 2024.
In 2023, the Inquiry will also open three new investigations:
- Module 4 will open on 5 June and will examine vaccines, therapeutics and anti-viral treatment across the UK. The Inquiry plans to hear evidence for this investigation in the summer of 2024. The scope for Module 4 will be published on the Inquiry website on 5 June and the Core Participant application window will be open from 5 June to 30 June 2023.
- Module 5 will examine Government Procurement across the UK. The Inquiry will open this investigation in October 2023, with evidence hearings scheduled for early 2025. The Core Participant application window will be open from 24 October 2023 to 17 November 2023.
- Module 6, examining the care sector across the UK, will open in December. The Core Participant application window will be open from 12 December 2023 to 19 January 2024. Public hearings will begin in spring 2025.
Further details for each investigation including the scope of the investigation and details on how to apply to be Core Participant will be published when they open.
To ensure the Inquiry’s recommendations are timely, the Chair has promised to publish regular reports. She hopes to publish reports for Module 1 (preparedness and resilience) and Module 2 (core decision making) during 2024.
The Inquiry will announce the next 12 months’ investigations in early 2024. A full list of the topics that the Inquiry will investigate can be found in our Terms of Reference.
Future investigations will cover testing and tracing, education, children and young persons, Governmental intervention by way of financial support for business, jobs, and the self employed, additional funding of public services and the voluntary/community sector, benefits and support for vulnerable people. The Inquiry’s final modules will specifically investigate impact and inequalities in the context of public services – including key workers – and in the context of businesses. The Inquiry is UK-wide and will examine the responses of both the devolved and UK Government throughout all of its work.
The Inquiry is aiming to complete public hearings by summer 2026.