Scotland set to hold its own COVID public inquiry
The Scottish Government has published information about the forthcoming judge-led COVID-19 public inquiry.
Proposed to start before the end of the year, the government is seeking feedback in the draft aims and principles of the inquiry.
In addition to scrutinising decisions taken by ministers throughout the pandemic, it will also examine the “four harms” of COVID on health, non-COVID health impacts, societal impacts and economic impacts.
COVID recovery secretary John Swinney said the publication of the paper was an “important step towards the establishment” of the inquiry.
He added: “We will continue to listen to those affected by COVID-19, including bereaved families, on what they wish the public inquiry to focus on. Their feedback will be fundamental in reviewing the suggested approach set out here and setting the terms of reference for an independent Scottish inquiry.
“Discussions are also ongoing with the UK Government on the planned four nations inquiry, to ensure all areas that need to be considered are covered in a way that gives confidence to bereaved families and others.”
Speaking about the inquiry at a coronavirus briefing today, the First Minister said it would have a role to play in "identifying and learning appropriate lessons for the future".
She said: "I do believe that a full public inquiry has an extremely important role to play both in scrutinising the decisions we took, and indeed continue to take in the course of the pandemic, but also of course in identifying and learning appropriate lessons for the future.
"I therefore believe that it is appropriate to establish that inquiry as soon as possible now and the process we've begun today is an important step towards that."
A UK-wide inquiry is not due to start until spring 2022.
But the Scottish one will investigate the experience of care homes, lessons learned from the pandemic and how different outcomes could have been achieved in Scotland.
It will be independent from government and will publish at set of recommendations at the end.
The lord advocate has begun discussions with the lord president about appointing a judge to lead the inquiry.