Lords scrutinize costs and effectiveness of public inquiries

12 July 2013

Peter Riddell CBE, Director of the Institute for Government, and Dr Karl Mackie CBE, from the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), will appear at the House of Lords Select Committee on the Inquiries Act 2005 on Wednesday 17 July.

The committee is investigating whether the Act is an adequate framework for public inquiries which are fit for purpose, cost-effective and command public confidence.

Peter Riddell not only has experience as an inquiry panel member, sitting on the inquiry which looked into improper treatment of detainees, but has also given evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics.

Dr. Karl Mackie is chief executive of the CEDR which two years ago launched an “Inquiry into Public Inquiries” project that set out to investigate and review the methodology used in previous public inquiries.

The committee will be looking at the huge expense involved in some public inquiries and asking what can be done to reduce the costs. Of inquiries set up before the 2005 Act, the Bloody Sunday inquiry cost £191.5million, and three other Northern Irish inquiries together cost over £100million.

Questions the witnesses are likely to face include:

  • Do public inquiries play a significant and useful part in the management and government of this country?
  • Is there a case for a body to be set up with general oversight of implementation of inquiry recommendations and maybe to have more general oversight of the inquiry process?
  • Are the recommendations of inquiries adequately implemented?

The evidence session will take place at 10.40am, on Wednesday 17 July, in Committee Room 4 of the House of Lords.

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