Inquiry continues important work pending appointment of new Chair

The Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry team remains resolutely committed to independently investigating the devolved strategic response to the pandemic in Scotland, and we are continuing our important work on behalf of the public pending the appointment of a new Chair.

On 3 October 2022, the Hon. Lady Poole issued the following statement:

"I was honoured to be appointed by the Deputy First Minister to lead such an important independent public inquiry into the handling of a pandemic which has touched everyone in Scotland. However, for personal reasons, I have had to take the very difficult decision to submit my resignation as Chair. I will continue to assist the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry during my notice period and would like to thank the Inquiry team for their hard work, dedication and commitment."

It is for the Scottish Ministers to appoint a replacement Chair of the Inquiry. The Deputy First Minister stated on 3 October 2022 that he had spoken with the Lord President about arrangements for appointing a new judicial Chair for the Inquiry, and that he would update the Scottish Parliament in due course.

We will provide an update on this website once the new Chair has been appointed.

In the meantime, the Inquiry is continuing with its work, including embedding its investigative processes and gathering evidence.

Since the Inquiry was established in February this year, we have been building the infrastructure and recruiting the dedicated team we need to conduct such an important investigation, which will cover the period until December 31, 2022.

Our focus has been on gathering information before we hold oral hearings. We commissioned academic reports on aspects of the devolved strategic response to the pandemic, which were published on the Inquiry website in June, when its Terms of Reference were finalised. In addition, we have issued ‘do not destroy’ letters to organisations and individuals, are reviewing core participant status applications made to the Inquiry, and have issued notices using our statutory powers to obtain relevant information from the Scottish Government. You can read the most recent Inquiry newsletter here and the introductory scoping research we commissioned here.

We also intend to pilot listening project activities later this year. The listening project will inform the Inquiry’s investigations and reports to the Scottish Government on the lessons that need to be learned to ensure that we are better prepared for any future pandemic.

We thank you for your support and look forward to working with you to achieve the Inquiry’s objectives as effectively and quickly as possible.