‘Every Story Matters’ – UK Covid Inquiry

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Image is the RINB logo. RNIB is in black text above a pink line. See Differntly is written underneath the pink line

RNIB logo – See differently.

The UK Covid inquiry wants to hear people’s experiences of the pandemic, and is running a large scale listening exercise.

There are several ways to get involved. The main opportunity currently is to complete a survey form link on the public inquiry page. However, there is an accessibility issue which RNIB raised that means for those completing the survey using JAWS, the Next button takes users to the end of the next page rather than the top. An official update in April said:

"For those who cannot go online, there will be paper versions available. Later this summer we plan to open a phone line to help people who wish to share their stories but find it harder to do so online. We will offer information about how to share your experience in British Sign Language, video, Easy Read, braille and other languages. We will be able to receive submissions in other languages, including over the phone via our ‘language line.’ These accessible versions will be launched throughout the summer. Paper versions of the online form are available from the Inquiry directly (email contact@covid19.public-inquiry.uk or write to FREEPOST, UK Covid-19 Public Inquiry)."

As well as the survey there will be other strands to the listening exercise which were talked through at a recent meeting. There will be in person events around the UK, dates and locations to come, and there will also be some piloting of specific activities to reach particular communities, such as residents of care homes. A public awareness campaign will be promoting the listening exercise, including targeted work to reach specific demographic groups and geographic areas.

RNIB will find out what the timescales might be for hearing more about the events that will be held across the UK and whether there is any scope or interest for the inquiry to seek the experiences of blind and partially sighted people in particular, via local sight loss organisations, for instance.

RNIB will be more involved in ‘module 3’ on the impact on healthcare which we are working on jointly with Disability Charity Consortium partners. This will not have public hearings until autumn 2024.

You can read the BBC’s article “Covid inquiry: What is it investigating and how will it work” which provides a useful overview of the inquiry.

If Visionary members have a particular interest in the inquiry, please email Sophie Dodgeon at RNIB so you can receive updates.


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