Inquiry update document - Independent Panel Inquiry into Child

INQUIRY UPDATE – 9 April 2015
Engagement and participation
Victims and survivors will be at the centre of the Inquiry’s work. We are putting in place
arrangements to enable the widest possible participation and will ensure that those who
wish their voices to be heard have an opportunity. This will include evidence giving as well
as the opportunity for victims and survivors to share their experiences more broadly.
Two ways in which we will enable this participation is through a Victim and Survivors
Consultative Panel and a Liaison Group.
The Victim and Survivors Consultative Panel (VSCP) will provide advice and guidance
to Justice Goddard and the panel as the Inquiry proceeds. The eight strong membership
will be nominated by victims and survivors, to bring a representative and cross-section of
experience and opinion. Nominations for applications to the VSCP will be assessed
against published criteria.
The Victims and Survivors Liaison Group will be a less formal network and will provide
a forum through which victims and survivors, and their representatives, can exchange
information and ideas with one another and convey their views to the Inquiry. Membership
for this group will be open.
These two groups are part of the Inquiry’s wider approach to engagement.
Representation of Victims and Survivors
As Justice Goddard stated during her appearance at the Home Affairs Select Committee
and in her subsequent statement on 12 March, there are significant issues with appointing
victims and survivors to the Inquiry Panel.
Primarily, there is the high likelihood of legal challenge if victims and survivors are on the
panel on the basis of them having direct interests in the subject matter. The panel will be
expected to act in a quasi-judicial capacity during the course of the statutory inquiry. This
may result in challenges to the legal objectivity and independence of the panel if any
member is deemed to have any personal interest in the subject matter, as well as the
strong likelihood of judicial reviews on the impartiality of the panel.
This is reinforced by a requirement in section 9(1)(a) of the Inquiries Act 2005 that the
Minister must not normally appoint a panel member if they have a direct interest in the
matter to which the inquiry relates.
It is therefore better to ensure victims and survivors’ voices are heard in a way that will
ensure their input but not stall or stop the important work of the Inquiry.
Also, and importantly, victims and survivors groups reflect a wide range of different
experiences and views. Therefore, the selection of only one or two victims or survivors to
serve on the Inquiry panel could not adequately reflect the broad cross-section of that
experience and opinion across all victim and survivor groups and could not do justice to
the collective input that is required from victims and survivors.
The Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel, which will meet the Chair, members of the
Panel and attend panel meetings in a consultative capacity as required, will allow for better
A statement setting out in more detail the role of the VSCP and the criteria for appointment
has today been published on the Inquiry website inviting nominations.
Work of the Inquiry
At a meeting with victims and survivors and representatives on Tuesday 8 April, members
of the Secretariat provided an update on progress made including:
Building the required infrastructure for the Inquiry, including the IT systems that
will be needed to support evidence collection;
Development of a set of small regional offices for the Inquiry to help with
evidence taking and liaising with victims and survivors;
The approach to wider engagement; and
Learning from other Inquiries such as how they have taken evidence, involved
victims and survivors and how we will work with them on mutual areas of interest
and concern. We will publish details on how we will do this in due course.
Regular updates on the Inquiry’s progress and activities will be published on the