This has been the first joint Inquiry set up between the Scottish Government and the UK Government. It is the second only since its inception under the Act. This Inquiry has broken new ground in terms of applying a new legal framework and devising procedures to deliver efficiently and effectively within a short timescale.
The Inquiry was set up on 21 January 2008 with public hearings commencing 2 July 2008. The Inquiry Report
was delivered by the Chairman, Lord Gill, on Wednesday 1 July 2009 to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Yvette Copper. The Inquiry Report is being published by Ministers today, 16 July 2009. A Summary of the Report
is also available.
Those asking for this public inquiry were seeking an explanation of the causes of the deaths and injuries and called for the facts surrounding the disaster to be revealed to enable changes to be made to prevent the recurrence of such a tragedy. The Chairman and Inquiry Team have been dedicated to providing within a tight timescale a Report providing the explanations sought, by examining the circumstances leading to the explosion, identifying the lessons to be learnt and making recommendations seeking to minimise the likelihood of a recurrence.
It has been an open and transparent process with contributions within the Terms of Reference invited from anyone interested and whether or not Core Participants, whether or not legally represented. These have been published on the Inquiry website together with statements and transcripts. Subject to the removal of personal information protected under the Data Protection Act, it is intended to provide links to the documents referred to in the statements and transcripts.
The Chairman wishes to express his thanks to those providing their willing co-operation and support in particular the Core Participants, their legal representatives and the witnesses, many of whom responded to requests for information and assistance within very short timescales; Rod Sylvester-Evans who provided independent expert assistance to the Inquiry; the Scottish Courts Service who carried out work to enable the venue to be used and provided infrastructure support systems for the Inquiry Team, the staff of the Community Central Hall and many other interested persons who have made contributions which have informed the Chairman in carrying out his task.
Two of those widowed by the explosion have fully participated on their own behalf without representation. Their direct contribution to the recommendations has been valuable and is recognised in the Report.
The responsibility for the Report and for responding to the Chairman's recommendations are now matters entirely for the Scottish Ministers and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.