The independent review into the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic will begin next month.
Chair Kate Brunner KC visited the Isle of Man last week with her team for a familiarisation week ahead of evidence gathering.
She said it was an ‘enjoyable and interesting time’ during which the team was ‘made welcome’.
Bristol-based Ms Brunner will be assisted in her work by Barrister Alex West and director of operations Paul Fletcher, as well as two experts in governance and public health.
The initial review plan is to commence evidence gathering from November 2022, and to complete the report and recommendations by the end of December 2023. This is in line with the terms of reference agreed by Tynwald in April.
The purpose of the review is ‘not to apportion blame but to identify good practice, lessons learned, and to make recommendations for change, if any is required’, according to the government.
It will ensure that this knowledge is fed into current working practices and improve the way the government deals with any future emergency response to a pandemic. The review will be robust and fully independent.
Unlike a statutory inquiry that would gather evidence by way of public hearings, the methodology for independent reviews is entirely flexible.
Reviews generally use a wide range of methods of evidence gathering and don’t usually follow the format of court-like hearings.
Between now and November, before starting to gather evidence, the panel is setting-up the structure of the review, to include such matters as setting up document management and data-protection systems.
In order to evaluate government decisions, the review will gather information from the Isle of Man Government, Tynwald and various officers and committees.
The government said that it’s vital that the review fully understands the impact which they had on the public, businesses and services.
The review will want to gather information from the public including, for example, from individuals who were particularly affected by the border closure.
It will invite submissions from all members of the public who wish to communicate any problems, and details of how to do this will be publicised ‘in due course’.
Called to the bar in 1997, Ms Brunner possesses experience in a range of different areas including criminal law, healthcare law and public law.
As leader of the Western Circuit, she is elected to lead 2,000 barristers in one of the six legal areas or ‘circuits’ of England and Wales, and has led reviews into the closure of courts, and safety in courts during the pandemic.
Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Jane Poole-Wilson chaired the panel which made the appointment.
She said: ‘The attributes and experience she brings will ensure the review is undertaken in a detailed and methodical manner.’