Chapter 11: The Panel’s work
In order to identify those organisations and individuals likely to hold relevant documents, a process was carried out using the expertise and knowledge of the Panel and recommendations from others. A table of contributing organisations and individuals is included at the end of this chapter.
Given the passage of time, some organisations had disbanded or merged, but where this was the case successor and legacy organisations were identified and contacted regarding any material they might hold. Not all those who were contacted held material that was relevant to the Panel’s work.
Some stakeholders could not at first locate information relevant to the work of the Panel. However, where the Panel had reason to believe that such information had existed at some point in time, the stakeholder was asked to search again and this often generated positive results.
A list of those who were contacted but did not provide any material to the Panel is also attached in a table at the end of this chapter (Table 6). Some said that they had never held any relevant material, others that relevant documentation had been destroyed because of the lapse of time, while others were unable to locate it. Some provided information through third parties such as the Department of Health because of their employment status at the relevant time.
Stakeholder engagement and collection of material
As soon as stakeholders were identified, they were asked not to destroy any material that might be relevant. This was quickly followed by the development of an Access and Disclosure Protocol. Introductory meetings were held with key stakeholders to explain the Panel’s work and to request that extensive searches be carried out for relevant material.
The Panel worked with stakeholders through a two-phase process:
- During phase one, the Panel asked stakeholders to search for relevant material and to provide it, in confidence, to the Panel. Without exception, all information relevant to our work that stakeholders acknowledged they had was provided to the Panel.
- In phase two, the Panel asked stakeholders to identify what, if any, information they felt unable to disclose into the public domain using narrow criteria established in the Access and Disclosure Protocol and a separate Redaction Framework. Both these documents can be found on the Panel website.
Engagement with all stakeholders continued throughout the work of the Panel, as further questions were raised during the process of reviewing the material, including revisiting organisations or individual stakeholders who were initially unable to provide the Panel with any documentation.
The Panel collected a total of 141,491 documents, not all of which have been disclosed in the online archive. Documents withheld from disclosure include medical records, death certificates, sensitive personal family material and documents that were identified as either out of scope or not relevant to the Panel’s work.
Out of the total of 141,491 documents supplied to the Panel, it was found that:
- 75,444 were out of scope
- 19,513 were of a sensitive nature or relevant specifically to individual families, such that it was felt not to be in the public interest or in keeping with the law relating to data protection to put these in the public domain.
This third category of documents will, however, be made available to individual families on a personal basis should they so wish. Where documents add to public understanding of events at the hospital, extracts have been included in the Panel’s Report with the consent of the families concerned.