The Consortium and 28 of our member organisations have responded to the Scottish Government’s call for views on the initial terms of reference of the upcoming COVID-19 public inquiry.
The public inquiry will examine decisions made by the Scottish Government in response to the pandemic, and aims to learn lessons and make recommendations which will improve future Government responses to health crises.
The Consortium has called for the inquiry to “aim for excellence” in participation and empowerment, especially for those who were most directly affected by COVID-19. It should focus on where people’s most fundamental rights were breached, such as the right to life, non-discrimination and an adequate standard of living. It should be set up in a way that enables real participation from those who are often ignored.
In particular, the Inquiry must not exclude New Scots. Evidence should be sought from refugees living in Scotland, to learn lessons about making sure that refugee rights are protected.
The Consortium also flags up that the Inquiry should consider how to improve people’s lives during the ongoing pandemic and in ‘normal’ times, since many of the problems caused by COVID-19 measures were exacerbations of existing inequalities and gaps in services and data.