Evidence gathering in the Inquiry
A crucial component of any inquiry is the gathering, processing and management of its documentary evidence. The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry is no exception. We have an excellent team of document handling experts with an array of experience on submitting and receiving evidence within an inquiry setting.
A core task of the documents team involves working with relevant teams within the Inquiry who identify key material of interest to us held by external parties. The documents team then works collaboratively with external parties, offering guidance and support, to ensure the secure transfer of documents for consideration by the Inquiry.
Every document is checked, processed and indexed to ensure secure and accurate receipt. Therefore, it is necessary for the documents team to liaise with other teams internally to enable our investigation teams and experts to build a comprehensive understanding of issues and chronology of events relevant to our Terms of Reference.
Delivering a hearing can be complex and needs a significant amount of preparation and planning. For the documents team, this means being guided by Lord Brodie, Chair of the Inquiry, and the legal team to organise all relevant documents into what are known as evidence ‘bundles’. All these bundles are published on the Inquiry website at Inquiry Documents when finalised for hearings.
Each oral hearing will have a number of bundles, all of which can be potentially referenced by counsel or a witness at any time during testimony. That is why the documents team is always present in the hearing room when witnesses are giving evidence to ensure bundles are displayed correctly to all participants and external viewers during proceedings.
Although the documents team’s main focus is on supporting the Inquiry’s investigations and hearings work, it also liaises closely with the National Records of Scotland to ensure that a permanent record of all the Inquiry’s work is archived and available to the public once its work has concluded.