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UK Covid-19 Inquiry: how can my organisation share our members’ experiences of the pandemic?

Ben Connah

I am Ben Connah, the Secretary to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry. I am responsible for the administration of the Inquiry and supporting the former Court of Appeal judge Baroness Hallett to fulfil her responsibilities as Chair of the Inquiry. I work for her and a key part of my role is making sure our work is independent of the government.

  • Unequal Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • COVID-19
  • Lived experience

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry is the public inquiry set up to examine the UK’s response to and impact of the pandemic. Integral to its work is the Inquiry’s UK-wide listening exercise, Every Story Matters. It is an opportunity for everyone across the country to contribute to the work of the Inquiry and help us build a picture of how the pandemic affected people. We are inviting the UK public to share their experiences of the pandemic through our website where you can also find accessible versions in other languages and formats available here. If you use British or Irish Sign Language, we will soon be piloting a relay service to enable you to tell us about your experience using Sign Language.

How can National Voices member organisations support Every Story Matters?

We are really grateful to the National Voices member organisations that have already been supporting us by encouraging participation in Every Story Matters amongst those they represent. Your organisations can play a pivotal role in helping those that you support and advocate for to understand the Inquiry, and why it’s so important that they tell us about the impact that the pandemic had, and continues to have, on their lives.

Please encourage the people that your organisation represents to tell the Inquiry about their experiences. We have a partner toolkit here full of resources that you can use on social media, in newsletters, blogs and on other channels to spread the word about Every Story Matters.  It is only by the Inquiry understanding the human impact of the pandemic that the context of decisions and decisions be really recognised. We are keen to reach people with a diverse range of health conditions and social care experiences, from every corner of the country, and we can only achieve this with the support of health and social care organisations like yours.

Why should my members share their experience with the Inquiry?

The Inquiry wants to hear from as many people as possible from different communities across the UK, especially those most affected by the pandemic. No-one in the health and social care sectors was untouched by the pandemic. We know that National Voices members can play an important role in building trust in the Inquiry so that our investigations can be informed by the experiences of those you represent or advocate for. That will give us the best chance of seeing the full picture and learning lessons for the future.

We know some experiences are painful to talk about, and sometimes it is difficult thinking back. Sharing an experience may trigger some difficult feelings and emotions, and we have a support page to help people with this process. Those filling in the form are also welcome to save their progress on the form and return to complete another time – we recognise that people may need to take time out and tell us about their experiences at their own pace.

How do I share my organisation’s research with the Inquiry?

We recognise that many organisations undertook research during the pandemic that could support the Inquiry’s investigations. Anyone wishing to share information relevant to the Inquiry’s work is encouraged to contact our Correspondence Team at or FREEPOST, UK Covid-19 Public Inquiry, outlining the information they hold. We’ll review all research we receive and if relevant to our work, will feed the reports into the legal teams running our investigations.

What happens to information shared with the Inquiry through Every Story Matters?

Every story shared with the Inquiry will be collated, analysed and turned into themed reports, which will be submitted into each relevant investigation from Module 3 onwards. Module 3 is our investigation into the impact of the pandemic on healthcare systems in all four nations of the UK.

When producing the reports, the Inquiry’s specialist researchers and analysts will make use of a range of techniques to make sure we are not missing trends or key insights. This will produce strong analysis and conclusions and reduce human bias. They will also enable us to understand where insights from the form apply to multiple modules, e.g. an experience shared about a young person’s mental health would apply to the children and young people’s module as well as the healthcare module. We applied these techniques when analysing the 20,000 responses to the Terms of Reference consultation. You can find the reports from this consultation on our website (summary Terms of Reference Consultation report and full Terms of Reference consultation report) to understand more.

The reports will be anonymised, disclosed to the Inquiry’s Core Participants and used in evidence. A final report will be produced at the end of the Inquiry, meaning that participants can share experiences relating to a module that has passed and their contribution can still be included as evidence. This is important, as we know not everyone will feel able to share their experience at a specific time. It means that people can fill in the form at their own pace.

Every story shared will be valuable in shaping the Inquiry’s recommendations. We want everyone, especially those most affected by the pandemic, to have a voice within this Inquiry. With your support we can ensure that the Inquiry hears the experiences of those you represent, to help us learn lessons for the future.

You and your members played an important role during the pandemic. We don’t want your stories to go unheard, because as hard as they may be to tell, it’s too important not to. Every Story Matters.