Today’s ‘Inquiry into Inquiries’ symposium has been a fascinating and valuable day. We have been very lucky to spend time with today’s delegates who have come with fresh and innovative ideas about the current state of Public Inquiries and how they might adapt to meet the needs of future stakeholders. Our symposium included representatives from a variety of fields, including the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defence, the NHS, the environment, third sector, business and the law. In particular, ideas about:
- Process flexibility and texture
- The role of organisations, and their ‘buy-in’ to the process
- Managing expectations of the public, of government and other stakeholders
- ‘Meeting points’ and other bridges of communication between stakeholder groups, the inquiry Chair and other important role-holders
have been real talking points, adding nuance and tone to the recommendations we presented today. These and other ideas will provide important stress tests for our recommendations, and I hope that after some thought, we will be able to present action points that are even more relevant and realistic to implement.
Today’s symposium has also underlined to me the fundamental importance of this project for making inquiries more accessible and available to the public. Inquiries are a vital part not just of our justice system but of our culture of public discourse, and today’s discussions will hopefully help CEDR and the Inquiries project move dialogue about truth and justice to a new and exciting place. Inquiries are a powerful process, and I hope that they can receive the recognition they richly deserve.