Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry: Analysis of the public and stakeholders views on the approach to establishing the public inquiry

This report sets out findings from public engagement that took place between 24 August and the end of September 2021. This engagement focused on draft aims and principles for a Scottish COVID-19 public inquiry. Feedback, as synthesised in this report, helped shape terms of reference of the inquiry.

3. Annex A: Engagement Methodology

External engagement methodology

Given the available timescales, engagement was undertaken using three complementary methods, each of which are discussed in more detail below.

1. A COVID-19 public Inquiry team mailbox was established to enable organisations and individuals to provide feedback on the Inquiry. The mailbox was signposted in the draft Aims and Principles paper on the Scottish Government (SG) website. SG Directors were asked to write directly to external stakeholders highlighting the opportunity to give feedback. It was considered how to highlight the opportunity to feed in views during the month of September, including the use of social media.

2. Eleven meetings were held with a selection of key stakeholders (over 70 people) on the week commencing the 13th September via Microsoft Teams. Face to face meetings took place where appropriate, to accommodate certain stakeholders or to maintain the confidentiality of proceedings. Meetings were run in a semi- structured group discussion format. A conversation guide was utilised by the facilitator and took the following format:

  • to set the scene (introductions and an overview of how the session was going to run)
  • to present the draft Inquiry aims and principles
  • to ask engagement questions

Participants were invited to provide their views on 5 headings related to the Inquiry. These were:

  • the scope (what the Inquiry should cover)
  • the timing and reporting of its progress
  • recommendations (as to whether it should be required to make them or not)
  • how the Inquiry should be designed to take a human rights approach
  • whether there should be a panel of members in addition to the Chair

Time was allotted at the end to allow for any other comments on the design of the Inquiry. Questions were open ended and background information was given prior to them being asked. Prior to the meetings, participants were sent the draft Inquiry aims and principles and engagement questions to allow preparation. Sessions lasted between 50 to 90 minutes.

Stakeholders were divided into clusters to enable a larger volume of engagement than would be possible in one-to-one meetings. The clustering was done sensitively with advice from analysts and policy teams. The clusters were organised as the following:

  • Cluster 1: Workforce, including health and social care workforce
  • Cluster 2: Economy
  • Cluster 3: Health and social care providers
  • Cluster 4: Voluntary sector and community leaders
  • Cluster 5: Local government
  • Cluster 6: Equality groups
  • Cluster 7: Human rights groups
  • Cluster 9: Bereaved
  • Cluster 10: Other experts by experience (e.g. Care Home Relatives)

3. Prior to the stakeholder engagement, an online ‘Dialogue Challenge’ was established. This ran between the 23rd and 30th September and attracted 187 comments (synthesized into 87 distinct ideas). The platform enabled users to post views and feedback on other users’ posts and presented them with a text outlining the scope of engagement consisting of the SG’s draft Aims and Principles. Guidance was provided on how to use the Dialogue platform and posts were moderated before going online.



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