UK Covid-19 Inquiry takes steps to listen to people’s experiences of the pandemic

  • Published: 31 October 2022
  • Topics: Statements

Inquiry Chair, Baroness Heather Hallett today announces a major step forward in developing a listening exercise that will enable the Inquiry to hear from thousands of people across the UK, about what happened to them during the pandemic.

The appointment of two companies, research experts Ipsos and communications specialists M&C Saatchi, means the Inquiry is on track to start its listening exercise later this year.

Ipsos and M&C Saatchi will work with the Inquiry team to begin designing ways people can share experiences over the coming months. We will wish to work closely with those most impacted by the pandemic to design the safest and most appropriate listening exercise possible. It is likely that there will be a mix of online and in-person ways to share, with support in place for those who need it.

Baroness Hallett said:

“As a nation, and individually, we are all coming to terms with the consequences of the pandemic. The experiences of the bereaved and those most impacted by the pandemic will be central to the work of the Inquiry. Today we have appointed two expert organisations who will ensure the Inquiry hears what people have to say and that their experiences contribute to the evidence considered by me during public hearings.

“I am committed to ensuring the process is not intimidating and that people feel safe in sharing their experiences with my team.

“My team will be meeting with the bereaved and those most impacted by the pandemic, in the coming months, to ensure the design and delivery of the listening exercise meet the needs of the people who contribute and the needs of the Inquiry.”

Ipsos has been appointed to bring research and analysis expertise to the Inquiry. The Inquiry needs to capture the depth of people’s pandemic experiences and turn these into an evidence base that will help the Inquiry make meaningful recommendations. Ipsos will ensure that experiences shared will be brought together, analysed and fed into the Inquiry’s hearings as evidence, as well as providing a record of the pandemic for future generations. Contributing to the Inquiry this way will matter, voices will be heard and a record kept.

M&C Saatchi brings a range of specialist expertise in engaging people from different backgrounds across all four UK nations , including those who are seldom heard, to ensure the evidence collected is as representative of society as possible. Their communications expertise will help people know how and when to come forward and talk about what happened to them.

Notes to editors

  1. The UK Covid-19 Inquiry was set up to examine the UK’s response to and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and learn lessons for the future.
  2. The work of the Inquiry is guided by its Terms of Reference.
  3. All those who have suffered hardship or loss as a result of the pandemic will be able to share their experiences with the Inquiry.
  4. The first part of this will be the ability to share what happened through a new form on the Inquiry website later this Autumn.
  5. Ipsos will work in partnership with NatCen Social Research, Just Ideas and WSA community consultants, providing specialist expertise in conducting research.
  6. M&C Saatchi has specialist expertise covering strategic communication and engagement, creative development, audience insight and partnerships.
  7. A robust procurement exercise tested suppliers’ expertise, suitability for the work and assessed any conflicts of interest. Part of that was ensuring any bidders would have appropriate safeguards in place to handle any actual or perceived conflicts of interest if they arise.
  8. The listening exercise will be reviewed based on its ability to reach and support people to share their experiences with the Inquiry, in a cost effective way, and to support the work of the Inquiry’s legal team.