Let’s be Heard is the opportunity for the people of Scotland to have their voices heard by the COVID Public Inquiry.
Views are being sought from individuals and groups across Scotland about their COVID experiences between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2022.
There are three key questions the inquiry is asking respondents to consider:
- What would you like to tell is about your experiences of the pandemic in Scotland?
- What were the impacts of these experiences on you and people you know?
- What lessons do you think should be learned from your experiences?
More about the process involved in ensuring you have the opportunity can be found in this video, Let’s Be Heard.
The process of national engagement runs up to the 20th December, and Let’s Be Heard are keen to hear more COVID experience from men, minority ethnic individuals, people from the LGBTQI+ community, religious minorities, those under 20 and over 70, and those who are financially insecure.
In addition, Lets’s Be Heard would like to hear from individuals living in the following local authority areas, North and South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, West Lothian and Highland and Islands.
During the pandemic over 450 people contacted our helpline looking for help to resolve issues related to COVID in their workplaces. Lack of risk assessment and failure to consult with staff were top of the list of COVID crimes, followed by failure to protect vulnerable workers (including pregant women), not allowing home working, forcing workers to break the law by travelling to work when restrictions were in place prohibiting them to do so and falsly classifying workers as essential when they were not. This list is not exhaustive and many of the concerns brought to our attention raised with us alo impacted on domestic circumstances and family relationships, where we tried to signpost callers to appropriate services.
Many employers failed to recognise the pandemic called for emergency measures and an anticipation by the Scottish Governnment that employers would go beyond statutory health and safety obligations to keep their workers free from COVID. In our experience COVID highlighted a health and safety crisis where employers have been allowed to ignore their legal obligations over many years, mainly due to cuts in enforcement and excessive inteference by successive Government’s in the work of our health and safety enforcement agencies.
It would be wrong to say there were not good examples and we did have a few, particularly from micro and small businesses, who contacted us at various points during the pandemic seeking advice on steps they need to take to protect their employees, customers or clients. It does beg the question, if the smallest employers could get it right why did larger ones, arguably with more resources continue to get it so wrong.
Please to take some time to participate in Let’s Be Heard and make the inquiry aware of your experiences, good and bad. It is already evident that the UK and Scottish Governments were unprepared for a pandemic of this scale. The extent to which this was the case, and why warnings were ignored, will be part of the respective public inquiries in the UK and Scotland. Your views are important, the outcome of the Scottish COVID Public Inquiry, which is totally independent from the Scottish Government, will shape public policy on, and preparedness for, any future pandemics.
Let’s Be Heard have provided resources to make responding as straightforward as possible, responses can be submitted online, the online form can also be used to submit a BSL ar audio response. Forms can also be downloaded for completion and sending to the inquiry team at Freepost SCOTTISH COVID-19 INQUIRY.