Committees join forces to scrutinise government response to pandemic

Former health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt

Two parliamentary committees have launched an inquiry to scrutinise the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which will include the impact on social care.

The health and social care and science and technology committees will jointly conduct evidence sessions examining the impact and effectiveness of action taken by government and the advice it has received.

As well as the social care sector, the inquiry will focus on the impact on BAME communities, testing and contact tracing, modelling and the use of statistics, and the government’s communications and public health messaging, among other areas.

In a joint statement, chairs of each committee, Jeremy Hunt MP and Greg Clark MP said: ‘Parliament has a crucial role in scrutinising the actions of government at a time when the country is in the grip of a crisis such as the current pandemic with its tragic impact on lives and livelihoods.

‘Important lessons need to be learned that can help inform further decisions that will need to be taken in the months ahead. It is crucial to learn and apply them now since the public inquiry that the prime minister has promised is likely to be some time away.

‘We will use the independence of our cross-party committees and weekly detailed questioning of witnesses to consider the decisions taken and the evidence they were based on and assess their effectiveness. We will develop clear recommendations so that the UK can benefit from the lessons learned for future stages of this pandemic and for future crises.’

The first evidence session of the inquiry will be held on Tuesday, focusing on social care. Jeremy Hunt will also be appearing the LaingBuisson’s Social Care and Retirement Living Conference 2020 on the same day.