John’s Campaign and Relatives & Residents Association have Core Participant Status for Welsh Administration module of Covid Inquiry
John’s Campaign and Relatives & Residents Association have been granted Core Participant Status for Module 2B of the Covid Inquiry due to focus on decisions by the devolved Welsh Government between March 2020 and May 2022.
Posted on 01 November 2022
The Covid Inquiry opened the application process for Module 2, on 31 August. Modules 2A, B and C will focus on political and administrative decision making by the UK devolved governments. The preliminary hearing for 2B took place today 1 November 22. It is hoped that the hearings proper will take place in the Autumn of 2023. The hearings will take place in Wales.
Module 2B will examine decision-making of key groups and individuals in the Welsh Government, including the First Minister and other Welsh Ministers.
As Core Participants, John’s Campaign and Relatives & Residents Association will be able to see investigation evidence, make statements at inquiry hearings and suggest lines of questioning to barristers at the inquiry.
John’s Campaign, led by Julia Jones and Nicci Gerrard, works across the UK to support people separated from their loved ones in health and care settings.
The Relatives & Residents Association provides a national, specialist helpline for expert advice on care issues for older people, and their relatives and friends.
Both charities are represented by law firm Leigh Day. John’s Campaign is represented by Leigh Day partner, Tessa Gregory and Relatives and Residents Association is represented by Leigh Day partner, Emma Jones.
Throughout the Covid 19 pandemic, John’s Campaign waged a legal campaign for the rights of family members to visit and be involved in the care of their loved ones in care homes.
Represented by Tessa Gregory and Carolin Ott, the charity convinced the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to change guidance to care homes in line with human rights laws.
Relatives & Residents Association supported John’s Campaign in its legal campaign which included two applications to the High Court which were withdrawn after guidance was changed. The charity, led by Helen Wildbore, provided a national voice for families whose loved ones were isolated in care homes during the pandemic because of severe visiting restrictions.
When making the decision to grant core participant status the Chair said:
“I am minded, in my discretion, to designate the Applicants as Core Participants in Module
2B. This is on the basis of a joint grant, noting that the organisations have adopted
joint working and will be jointly represented. For a number of reasons, I consider that
the Applicants jointly are well placed to assist the Inquiry in Module2B as to whether
those whose interests they represent, including those requiring care and those
providing such care, were considered as part of the process of core political and
administrative decision-making in response to Covid-19.”
Julia Jones of John’s Campaign said:
“We are glad and honoured to have been accepted as core participants in Module 2B of the public inquiry. We believe that the rights and needs of vulnerable individuals across the UK were needlessly ignored in the making of public policy during the COVID period and that the damage continues to this day. We welcome the opportunity to assist the investigation of this matter in Wales and hope that important lessons will be learned for the future.”
Helen Wildbore of Relatives & Residents Association said:
"We welcome the opportunity to assist the public inquiry as it investigates political decision-making. Older people needing care have been too often neglected, overlooked and left behind during the pandemic. Their voices must be heard and lessons learnt to prevent any further erosion of their human rights."
Emma Jones said:
“We welcome the decision of the chair to grant core participant status to John’s Campaign and Relatives & Residents Association. It is vital that the Inquiry recognises the importance of the role that non governmental organisations and individuals have to play in the Inquiry. What must not happen is that we end up in a position where the more weight is given to government and other public bodies and we see an Inquiry awash with those and Core Participants with little if any direct involvement to represent citizens of the UK.”
Emma Jones spoke on behalf of the groups at the 1 November hearing. She told the Chair, Baroness Heather Hallett that Core Participants hoped their voices would be given just as much weight as Government contributors, urged her to consider extending the scope of the inquiry beyond May 2022 because it was essential to consider what is happening now, and urged her to take into account evidence that would be presented on behalf of non verbal people in care.
This article was updated on Thursday, 3 November 2022.
Tessa is an experienced litigator who specialises in international and domestic human rights law cases
John’s Campaign and the Relatives & Residents Association will apply for Core Participant status at pandemic inquiry
John’s Campaign and the Relatives & Residents Association will apply for Core Participant Status at the public inquiry into the UK Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.