Baroness Kate Lampard CBE. You can read more about Baroness Lampard here.
To investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of mental health inpatients under the care of NHS Trusts in Essex.
Baroness Lampard held a public consultation on the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference from 1-28 November 2023. You can read the latest a statement about the Terms of Reference consultation here and our Terms of Reference FAQs here.
On the 28 June 2023, the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, announced that the Inquiry would be converted to statutory status, under the Inquiries Act 2005.
Subsequently the Department of Health and Social Care issued a notice of conversion, confirming that the Inquiry was formally converted on 27 October 2023.
The Inquiry requested conversion to a statutory inquiry under the Inquires Act 2005 to allow the Inquiry to fully investigate the deaths of mental health inpatients.
The Inquiries Act 2005 provides a clear framework for the Inquiry to operate within. Importantly, it enables an inquiry to compel evidence from individuals and organisations.
The Inquiry considers that this conversion will ensure that it can:
- Secure essential evidence from both organisations and individuals;
- Provide the necessary framework, protections and clarity to any organisation or individual sharing evidence; and
- Provide structure and support to those identified as Core Participants.
We anticipate that conversion will result in changes to the Inquiry’s processes for taking evidence. We will provide an update on this, including an updated timeline, in due course.
We will publish our intended timescales for the work of the Inquiry and final report following publication of the Terms of Reference.
For more information on the Terms of Reference, you can find our Terms of Reference FAQs here.
Evidence which has already been obtained during the Inquiry’s non-statutory phase will be retained and reviewed by the Inquiry.
There is no need for witnesses to take any action to withdraw or resubmit their evidence at this stage. The Inquiry will be in touch with all witnesses in due course to discuss how their evidence may be used, together with any requests for additional evidence should this be required.
The Chair urges any individual who is asked to provide evidence to the Inquiry to do so voluntarily. Where this request is declined, and the Inquiry believes the individual holds important evidence for our investigations, the Chair may compel the provision of evidence. This will be done under the powers of the Inquiries Act 2005. Should an individual be compelled, the Inquiry will ensure the necessary support is in place to enable them to provide evidence.
The Chair will not compel family members to provide evidence.
Decisions around the details of how evidence will be obtained will be made by the Chair in due course.
While the statutory Inquiry is in the process of being set up and the Terms or Reference are being finalised, we will not be receiving any new evidence. The Inquiry team will be in contact you when we have further information.
Independent emotional support continues to be available for those engaging with the Inquiry. If you would like to access this, or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Inquiry team.
The Inquiry offers independent emotional support, provided by the British Red Cross, to witnesses, those in the process of providing evidence, and anyone affected by the work of the Inquiry. This is a confidential service and is independent of the Inquiry.
Please contact the Inquiry team if you would like to access this offer and we will discuss next steps with you.
The general approach of a statutory inquiry is that all evidence will be made public. However, there are provisions within the Inquiries Act 2005 which permit the Chair to make a Restriction Order, which can restrict evidence from being made public, if there are good reasons to do so. An individual or organisation can apply to the Chair for a Restriction Order which can relate to any part of their evidence, including their identity.
Witnesses are able to apply to the Chair of the Inquiry for a Restriction Order, which can relate to any part of their evidence being restricted from being made public, including their identity. Any request will need to be decided by the Chair. A protocol will be available in due course which will explain the process for doing so within a statutory inquiry. Please contact the Inquiry team should you have any specific concerns around providing evidence.
During the setting-up phase of the Inquiry and while the Terms of Reference are being finalised, the team will not be receiving new evidence.
However, you are welcome to contact us now to let us know you would like to provide evidence. We will respond with further details around providing evidence in due course.
Decisions around how evidence will be obtained will be communicated in due course. The Inquiry is not currently holding evidence sessions. We will be in touch with you as soon as we can to provide further details.
We apologise for the delay and any anxiety this may cause. The Inquiry continues to offer independent emotional support; please do contact us should you like to access this or have any further concerns.
The Inquiry strives to be accessible to all and it is not necessary to have legal representation to engage with the Inquiry, or to provide evidence. If you would like to obtain independent legal representation, you may wish to find a solicitor through the Law Society’s Find a Solicitor service.