Government launches job ad for official to start preparations on a coronavirus inquiry

PUBLISHED: 12:08 28 July 2020

Sir Patrick Vallance, government chief scientific advisor, giving evidence as he attends a session of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee; House of Commons

Sir Patrick Vallance, government chief scientific advisor, giving evidence as he attends a session of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee; House of Commons

PA Wire/PA Images

A government department has begun advertising for an official to join them in order to start preparations on a future coronavirus inquiry.

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The Government Office for Science has launched an ad for a “highly motivated individual” join its Covid-19 Science Advisory Group (CSAG) to help with “any future Covid-related audits or inquiries”.

The advert, posted on the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s website, says the successful incumbent will be “pivotal in developing and driving Inquiry preparedness planning across Government Office-Science acting as the lead source of advice”.

The job advert for a Recovery Lead with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; civilservicejobsThe job advert for a Recovery Lead with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; civilservicejobs

Alongside reporting to Downing Street’s chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, the Recover Lead - as the role is being coined - will be “identifying and implementing interventions to support Inquiry preparedness now and planning key activities required once an Inquiry is called”.

The role is paying up to £58,000.

CSAG supports the Scientific Advice Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in providing the prime minister and cabinet with scientific advice concerning the coronavirus.

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Prime minister Boris Johnson announced plans to launch an inquiry in July into the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis but has yet to indicate a start date, Terms of Reference, or a person to chair the probe.

Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey, who forced Johnson into announcing the inquiry, has called on the prime minister to launch an investigation immediately.

“The prime minister confirmed to me weeks ago that there would be an independent inquiry, but we have seen no action from the government since,” he said.

“Bereaved families I speak to are so disappointed that the government is yet to begin an inquiry. They just don’t want any more families to go through what they have.

“The coronavirus threat remains very real. Were a second wave to happen during the winter, it could be even more deadly and damaging than the first. The government must immediately start an inquiry so that we can learn from mistakes and properly plan for a second wave.”

Davey urged Johnson to appoint Martin Forde QC to lead the inquiry.

Forde helped design the government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme and is chair of the independent inquiry into Labour’s report on the party’s handling of anti-semitism complaints.

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