The Terms of Reference for the Covid-19 Inquiry were published today. The Terms of Reference are available on the government’s website here, but do not yet appear to have been posted on the Inquiry website.

From an initial review, the Terms of Reference seem to be widely drafted, stating that the aims of the Inquiry are to “examine the Covid-19 response and the impact of the pandemic in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and produce a factual narrative account” and “identify the lessons to be learned from [this], thereby to inform the UK’s preparations for future pandemics.”

The Terms of Reference seem to be as wide as could be hoped for and will cover both public health and economic decision making; the responses of the NHS and social care providers; and procurement processes. For the first time in a public inquiry a ‘factual narrative account’ of the response to the pandemic will be determined.

The Inquiry website also states that:

  • a public consultation will open tomorrow, Friday 11 March;
  • the consultation will remain open for four weeks, and will be available online;
  • details will be published on the Inquiry’s website.

We note that four weeks is a short time for organisations to submit clear and targeted responses. As we are aware this wide remit will impact many of our clients (both representative groups and individual organisations) we suggest that you get in touch as soon as possible if you would like to discuss your organisation’s specific situation.

We will, of course, continue to keep you updated as new information becomes available.