Non-statutory phase of the Inquiry


The Lampard Inquiry continues the work of the Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry.

The Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry was established on 21 January 2021 as a non-statutory inquiry by the then Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, Nadine Dorries. Dr Geraldine Strathdee CBE was also announced as the Chair to the Inquiry. You can read the announcement here.

The non-statutory inquiry was set up to investigate the deaths of mental health inpatients in Essex between 2000 and 2020. You can find the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference during its non-statutory phase here.

In November 2021, the Inquiry launched a call for evidence from families and carers of inpatients who died across NHS Trusts in Essex between 2000-2020, as well as anyone with experience of mental health inpatient services across Essex during the 21-year period. In July 2022, the Inquiry’s Chair issued an urgent appeal to staff to come forward to share their experiences with the Inquiry.

In January 2023, Dr Strathdee published an open letter with an update on the Inquiry’s work. The letter explained that Dr Strathdee believed that the Inquiry would not be able to meet its Terms of Reference with its non-statutory status given the levels of staff engagement it had received so far.

In April 2023, Dr Strathdee met with the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the Rt Hon Steve Barclay, to provide an update on the work of the Inquiry. In that meeting, Dr Strathdee confirmed that, due to a number of factors, her view remained that the Inquiry could not meet its Terms of Reference with non-statutory status.

On 28 June 2023, the then Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, announced that the Inquiry would be granted statutory status under the Inquiries Act 2005. Dr Geraldine Strathdee CBE also announced her resignation as Chair to the Inquiry.

The incoming Chair was announced as Baroness Kate Lampard CBE on 4 September 2023.

On 27 October 2023, the Department of Health and Social Care issued a formal notice of conversion, confirming the Inquiry’s statutory status. The Inquiry then re-launched as the Lampard Inquiry on 1 November 2023.