Trained professionals to assist in taking evidence and producing narrative summaries
A new method of collecting evidence from infected and affected people has been established by the Infected Blood Inquiry today.
Many people have told the Inquiry that the stigma attached to their experiences means they would have difficulty in providing witness statements or oral testimony in the traditional way associated with public inquiries.
The Inquiry has recruited three trained professionals to act as “intermediaries” and has adopted a new approach to evidence gathering. The intermediaries will visit those who request their support and then submit reports to the Inquiry covering a number of people’s experiences, without revealing their identities.
The intermediaries will present their findings as summary reports to the Inquiry. The reports will not identify the people they have spoken to but summarise the common experiences of the people infected and affected. All of these accounts will be read by the Chair and his team, published with the rest of the evidence and the intermediaries may be asked to speak during the Inquiry’s hearings. They will help to paint an accurate overall picture of what was happening.
The intermediaries are Jackie Wilson, Pam Allen and Kay Durrant who have over one hundred years of combined experience working in social care and policing and in supporting people who have traumatic and painful personal accounts to share. They will shortly start contacting people who have expressed a preference to assist the Inquiry by speaking to a trained professional in this way.
Chair to the Inquiry, Sir Brian Langstaff, said:
“The work of these intermediaries will be especially appropriate for anyone who does not wish to take the time to give a full detailed written account or who may find that process too upsetting for all sorts of reasons. It would be a pity if what they had to say remained unheard and I wanted the Inquiry’s processes to enable them to be heard, despite those difficulties.
“The intermediaries will be their voice to the Inquiry and be able to present a narrative account of their findings once they have seen all of those who wish to contribute in this way. It will also allow those who may only wish to contribute one or two points or who have limited knowledge of their or their family’s experiences to play a part in the Inquiry.”
People who would like to speak to an intermediary and have not yet expressed interest in providing evidence are invited to speak to the Inquiry Team on freephone 0808 169 1377, complete the Inquiry’s short form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pam is a qualified social worker with 40 years of experience in local authorities, the courts and the independent sector. She has worked directly with adults and children who have suffered trauma, including grieving parents.
Kay is a qualified senior investigating officer who has 25 years of experience in the police service. She has extensive experience dealing with people who are vulnerable and has provided training nationally with the College of Policing on areas of vulnerability and investigation. She is also a qualified and practising counsellor.
Jackie is a qualified social worker with 38 years experience in local authorities, hospitals, family courts and the independent sector. She has worked extensively with families who have experienced trauma.