Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: statement from the new Chair

On 6 September the new Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, Professor Alexis Jay OBE, made a statement in which she said, inter alia, that:

“… the panel will not be seeking any revision of the Inquiry’s terms of reference or introducing any new restrictions on its scope. To ensure that the Inquiry can meet the challenges it faces, I have already initiated a wide-ranging internal review of the Inquiry’s ways of working and we are currently looking at different approaches to evaluating the information we receive. We are committed to maintaining efficiency and effectiveness so that the Inquiry can be concluded within a reasonable time and with a constant eye to the cost to the public purse.”

On 8 September she followed that up with a letter to Core Participants in which she reiterated her earlier statement:

“I would like to reassure any victim or survivor who is concerned that their experience may be excluded from our work that I have no intention of asking the Home Secretary to revise or reduce our terms of reference. I am confident that we can adapt our working methods to make our task more manageable and to progress with our work more quickly. For that reason, on my second day as Chair, I ordered an internal review of the Inquiry’s approach to its investigations. My aim is to explore new ways to deliver the Inquiry’s investigative work while remaining faithful to its terms of reference.  I will write to you again when the review process has concluded to tell you about any changes that we propose to make and to invite your views.

There has been some criticism that too many of our staff come from the Home Office.  In fact, less than a quarter of our staff are formerly from the Home Office. Their duty and loyalty is to the Inquiry and not to any Government Department.  Regardless of their background, the Inquiry staff are bound together by a commitment to make this Inquiry a success, drawing on skills and expertise from the public and private sectors.” [With thanks to Bates Wells Braithwaite for the lead.]

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