COVID-19 Inquiry

We have established a public inquiry to examine the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland. Find out more.

1 November 2022

Dear Lord Brailsford,

Thank you for your agreement to take on the role of Chair of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry, following the resignation of the Hon. Lady Poole.

Scottish Ministers established an independent Scottish public inquiry to provide scrutiny of the handling of the pandemic in Scotland, and to learn lessons. We have always been clear that we want the work of the Inquiry to be delivered at speed, addressing the range of questions that people have, so that we can learn and benefit from lessons as early as possible.

We have therefore been working urgently to discharge our statutory function of appointing a new Chair in order to ensure a successful transition and continuation of the important work of the Inquiry. I am very grateful for your engagement in the discussions with the First Minister and I about the role.

In establishing the inquiry, it has been a key priority for the Scottish Government to listen to those who have been affected by the pandemic. This includes first and foremost those who are bereaved. It also includes wider groups of people who have been affected and we have had a particular focus on equality and human rights considerations. In appointing you as Chair, we have been heartened by your empathy for, and commitment to, engaging with those affected by COVID-19. I am also grateful for your support of the amendment to the Inquiry terms of reference, reflecting the commitment that the Inquiry take a person-centred, human rights based approach.

Through our discussions, I have been assured that you recognise the importance of the Inquiry working as quickly as possible to thoroughly discharge the terms of reference. Ministers are keen to ensure the progress made so far by the Inquiry is continued, while recognising that operational matters such as the strategy and details of investigation will be for you as the new independent Chair of the Inquiry to decide.

The Scottish Government remains committed to the vital work of the Inquiry and, as its sponsor, has provided operational support as the Chair has considered necessary and appropriate in order for the Inquiry to carry out its independent remit. We will continue to provide that support to ensure the continuation of the Inquiry's work, and to help ensure the progress made so far is continued.

I am grateful for the commitment to serving the people of Scotland that you have shown in agreeing to chair the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry.

John Swinney


Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry website.

Back to top