What are Terms of Reference?
The Terms of Reference play a key role in the Covid Inquiry as they determine what the Inquiry will cover as it prepares to move forward. The Terms of Reference outlines the scope of the UK Inquiry and what exactly will be investigated, and in this instance includes areas like the Government's preparedness and response to the pandemic.
Where are we up to with the Terms of Reference?
Following the launch of the UK Covid Inquiry on the 28th June 2022, the Terms of Reference have now been confirmed by Boris Johnson, as the former Minister responsible for setting up the Covid Inquiry.
While we are disappointed that it has taken two years to get to this point, we are relieved to see that the former Prime Minister has agreed to accept the Chair’s recommended changes to the Terms of Reference in full, subject to some clarificatory amendments put forward by the devolved nations. The Chair met with bereaved families across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to hear what they believed was missing from the draft Terms of Reference, and carried out a virtual public consultation, before putting her recommendations forward to the Boris Johnson.
What does this mean for you?
The contents of the Terms of Reference will directly impact the outcome of the Inquiry. The Covid Inquiry is unique in that there isn't a person in the country who hasn't been affected by the pandemic in some way. We are confident that the Terms of Reference that have been set by the former Prime Minister leave enough room for us to cover the issues that matter most to you, the bereaved, including hospital-acquired Covid-19, care home-acquired Covid-19, delays to lockdown, the impact on the mental health and wellbeing of the bereaved, and more.
We will receive a List of Issues from the Inquiry Legal Team for each Module. This will add the detail to the Terms of Reference. As soon as we receive this List of Issues, we will share it with you and seek your instructions on whether it requires any additions. Lists of Issues confirm in greater detail which questions the Inquiry will be seeking to explore and allows for the Inquiry team and CP teams to take a more targeted approach to the analysis and strategy.
We’d strongly advise anyone who has suffered a bereavement due to Covid-19 to join the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group to have your voice heard in the Inquiry.