Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry Newsletter: Issue 3 (Winter 2022-23)
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Welcome to our latest edition of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry newsletter, a useful resource for anyone seeking to follow our progress or engage with us.
This issue features information on how the Inquiry is developing, including the pilot phases of our listening project, Let’s Be Heard. There is also news about the memorandum of understanding between the Scottish and UK Covid Inquiries, and the upcoming establishment of accessible premises for the Inquiry in central Edinburgh.
I was pleased to meet with Baroness Heather Hallett, the Chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, to agree the memorandum of understanding between the two Inquiries.
Let's Be Heard Pilot
The Inquiry’s listening project, Let's Be Heard: Sharing Scotland's COVID Experience, is about to enter the second part of its two-phased pilot approach before launching to the public later in the Spring.
The project will encourage people across Scotland to share their personal experiences of the devolved strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The name was suggested by a participant in the first pilot phase of the project.
The first phase of the pilot launched in November 2022 and allowed the project team to engage with family groups and representative organisations to gather opinions and feedback on how to ensure the public engagement programme is inclusive and accessible.
The second phase of the pilot will continue those conversations and explore the best ways of engaging with people and groups adversely impacted by the pandemic in Scotland, as well as charities and other organisations representing marginalised groups. The Inquiry recognises that the knowledge and valuable input of those with first-hand experience is needed to achieve this, and the Inquiry appreciates their support.
The aim of the project is to encourage as many people as possible to share their experiences with the Inquiry and help inform our investigations and reports.
Scottish and UK Covid-19 Inquiries formalise how they will work together
An agreement has been published setting out how the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry and the UK Covid-19 Inquiry will work together. A memorandum of understanding has been signed by both inquiries and formalises the process.
Lord Brailsford, Chair of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry, met Baroness Heather Hallett, Chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, to explore how to minimise duplication of work through information sharing and maximising value for money to the public purse.
The agreement commits to providing clear information to the public about how each inquiry will conduct its investigations in Scotland to enhance public understanding of its work, including both public engagement exercises.
The inquiries have agreed to meet regularly and will share information where possible on those topics that are within both of their Terms of Reference.
How you can get involved
Everyone in Scotland has been affected by the pandemic, so it is right that everyone should have the opportunity to engage with the Inquiry.
As the Inquiry continues with its investigations, there will be opportunities to participate in numerous ways:
- Through the Inquiry's listening project, Let's Be Heard.
- As a core participant, for those who have been granted this status.
- By giving evidence at a public hearing, where invited by the Inquiry.
- By accessing witness statements, records and documents published on the Inquiry website.
Our listening project will be one of the main ways to get involved with the Inquiry’s investigations and will allow people to share their experiences of the pandemic, as well as the lessons they feel should be learned.
Some groups and organisations have been, or will be, given core participant status in the Inquiry.
This allows them to propose questions to be asked at public hearings and view documents before they are published by the Inquiry. However, you do not need to be a core participant to engage with us.
The Inquiry has signed a lease for premises at Waverley Gate, 2-4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh.
The city centre location has been chosen due to the ease of access it provides for anyone taking part in the Inquiry, including those who may be taking part in hearings, with its close proximity to the city’s public transport links.