UK Government announces public inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic will begin in Spring 2022

13th May 2021

It has been announced that the UK Government will undertake a full and independent public inquiry into its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal is that the inquiry will also scrutinise the responses of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish administrations.

Back in September 2020, the UK Government responded to a petition to hold a public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 crisis, stating that “there will be an important moment to look back, analyse, reflect and to learn lessons. As the Prime Minister has said, this will include an independent inquiry at the appropriate time.”

On 12 May 2021, the Prime Minister announced that he expects the inquiry to commence in spring 2022. He commented that “the end of the lockdown is not the end of the pandemic” and with the persistent threat of new variants, this would be the right time to commence the inquiry, despite many being anxious for the inquiry to begin sooner.

The inquiry will “consider all key aspects of the UK response” and place the State’s actions “under the microscope” to identify the “key issues that will make a difference for the future.” The public inquiry will be on a statutory basis with full powers under the Inquiries Act 2005.

He acknowledged that “every part of our United Kingdom has suffered the ravages of this virus, and every part of the state has pulled together to do battle against it. If we are to recover as one Team UK, as we must, then we should also learn lessons together in the same spirit.”

Blake Morgan public inquiries team

Blake Morgan’s specialist solicitors have extensive experience in public inquiries work – please see here for further information.

You are also invited to join us at our next Public Sector Network event on 26 May in which we will be discussing statutory public inquiries.

Boris Johnson’s full statement can be found here.

The Government’s response to the petition can be found here.

This article has been co-written by Jodie Grove and Joanne Thompson.

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