BCW, the global communications agency built to move people, announced today the establishment of its industry-first Covid-19 Inquiry Unit to help clients prepare for the upcoming Covid-19 public inquiry.
The BCW Covid-19 Inquiry Unit is led by Simon Richards, Head of Public Affairs, BCW London, who was Head of Communications within the NHS during the pandemic. It includes some of BCW’s most senior advisers, including John McTernan (former No.10 Strategy Director under Tony Blair), Nick Williams (Managing Director, Corporate and Public Affairs), Ellie Wilcox (former Newsnight and Sky News journalist), Steve Hawkes (former Deputy Political Editor, The Sun) and Caroline Winters (former Executive Committee member at McDonalds, Sport England and Danone).
BCW announced the Unit with the publication of a paper – “The Covid-19 Inquiry: what do we know, what can we expect and how can organisations prepare?”. The paper provides an in-depth analysis of the Inquiry’s scope and powers. In addition to describing the implications of the Inquiry and outlining what types of organisations will be in scope, it also provides counsel on what those organisations can do to prepare and outlines the different likely stages of engagement.
On launching the Unit, Richards said: “BCW’s industry-leading COVID-19 Inquiry Unit comprises some of the most strategic communication practitioners in the business. In the era of always-on media, the public reception of an organisation’s narrative can be as important as the formal evidence it presents to an inquiry. Our team is uniquely placed to help guide clients through the coming months”.
Williams added: “This Inquiry is likely to dominate the political landscape for months. Its forensic examination of corporate business continuity and disaster planning, corporate management of risk, governance structures, business preparedness as well as corporates’ internal and external communications means businesses need to start planning now for how they’re going to navigate through it”.
The public inquiry was announced by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson in May 2021. Since then it has faced delays to the appointment of a chair and subsequent additional members. The Government initially said it would begin its work in the spring but has now clarified this has been pushed back to the summer. The public consultation on the Inquiry’s terms of reference was launched earlier in March and will conclude in April 2022.