Aftermath of public inquiries "being neglected", warns Institute for Government

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 13 December 2017 in News

The UK Government has spent £639m on public inquiries over the last 30 years but has failed to effectively follow up on their recommendations, finds Institute for Government

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The UK Government has spent £639m on public inquiries over the last 30 years but has failed to effectively follow up on their recommendations, according to a new report by the Institute for Government.

The report, ‘How public inquiries can lead to change’, found that out of the 68 public inquiries instigated by the government since 1990, only six have been fully followed-up by select committees.

While inquiries are increasingly common, the Institute for Government also warned they take too long to publish their findings, with one in seven taking five years or longer to release their final report.

The report recommends that Parliament requires government to provide yearly progress updates to select committees on how it is responding to official recommendations.

Emma Norris, programme director at the Institute for Government, said: “Government has spent over half a billion pounds on inquiries since 1990 and uses them more and more. As we speak, there are eight separate inquiries running into some of the biggest tragedies this country has seen.

“But our report finds that the aftermath of inquiries are being neglected. The implementation of findings is patchy and there is no proper procedure for holding government to account for change.

“Government needs to systematically provide a full and detailed response to inquiry findings and select committees need to make the follow up to inquiry recommendations a core part of their work.” 

The Institute also recommended that the Government should systematically explain how it is responding to inquiry recommendations and that select committees should examine annual progress updates from government on the state of implementation.

It called for public inquiries to publish interim reports in the months after events, rather than years later, and for expert witnesses to be involved in developing the recommendations of inquiries.

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