Frequently asked questions

General questions

What are the aims of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry?

The Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry is investigating Scotland’s devolved strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland. The Inquiry will:

  • establish the facts and identify any lessons that can learned for the future;
  • report on areas where things could have been done better and on what worked well; and
  • make recommendations to Scottish Ministers.

The Inquiry is independent from the Scottish Government. To find out more about this and the Inquiry overall visit the “About” section of the Inquiry website.

Please note that inquiries do not investigate individual cases. They do not decide civil or criminal liability, nor award compensation.


What areas is the Inquiry investigating?

The Inquiry is investigating the key areas and topics set out in its Terms of Reference. These areas cover health, education, business, financial and welfare support, as well as pandemic preparedness in Scotland. These investigations cover decisions made by the Scottish Government and other public bodies about the pandemic.

Areas covered by the Inquiry include:

  • Preparation for the pandemic
  • Lockdown and other restrictions
  • COVID testing and the delivery of vaccination programmes
  • Managing outbreaks
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Shielding
  • Care homes and nursing homes
  • Health and social care services
  • Unpaid carers
  • End of life care
  • Do not attempt to resuscitate orders (DNACPR)
  • Welfare assistance programmes
  • Education
  • Support for businesses and the self-employed


The UK COVID-19 Inquiry is also gathering people’s experiences, including from people in Scotland. You can share with the UK Inquiry, the Scottish Inquiry, or both. For more information, please have a look at our Scottish and UK Inquiries page.


What are the aims of Let’s Be Heard?

Let’s Be Heard is the main way in which people can interact with, and contribute to, the Inquiry. It aims to give a voice to as many people across Scotland as possible. The Inquiry is investigating how the handling of the pandemic impacted people, including whether there were any unequal impacts. To do this, the Inquiry needs to hear from as many different people as possible. To find out more, please visit About Let's Be Heard.


How does Let’s Be Heard shape the Inquiry’s work?

Information gathered through Let’s Be Heard has the same status as that gathered through our impact hearings. Our Let’s Be Heard team will analyse your experiences and will be working with the Inquiry's investigations team on key findings and recurring or emerging themes. We will publish a series of reports reflecting these findings.



Questions about taking part

Who can take part?

Anyone living in Scotland, or who was affected by decisions made in Scotland, between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2022 can share their experiences of the pandemic with Let's Be Heard.


What are the timescales for taking part?

While our national engagement period ended on 20 December, the online platform will remain open and we are happy to continue accepting submissions into 2024.After this, we will begin our Focused Engagement Period, where we will conduct more specific engagement and research activities, such as focus groups and workshops in order to fill any information gaps or provide a more detailed information base.


Submitting your response

We accept responses anonymously or with contact details and you can choose whether to register with us or not. You do not need to be registered to submit a form.

If you are registered and logged into your account when you submit your online form, you will receive an automatic email copy of your full submission.

If you are not registered and you close the online form before submitting it, your responses will not be saved or sent to Let’s Be Heard.

Let’s Be Heard can only see submitted online forms, we cannot see partially completed online forms. Once an online form is submitted it is not possible to edit it, however there is no limit to how many online forms you submit.


How can I save my online form so that I can come back to it later?

If you are registered and logged in to your account when you are completing your form, you can save your online form and return to it later. Before you leave your online form, remember to select “save and continue” on the page you are currently on.

We strongly recommend that you type your answers into a separate document, then copy and paste them into the boxes in this form. You will then have a record of your answers, registered or not, and you can easily submit your responses to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry’s listening exercise, Every Story Matters.


I am registered, how do I return to my partially completed form?

If you have registered with Let’s Be Heard and you made your submission while registered, you can return to a partially completed form. You can return to your form by logging into your account from the Let’s Be Heard website.

To log in to your account, select “sign in” in the menu at the top of your screen. If you are logging in from a phone, you will need to select the three line menu icon in the top right-hand corner of your phone then select “log in” from the drop-down menu that appears. You will be asked to enter your log in details that you created when first registering.

Once you have logged in, you can return to the form that you were using by selecting “TAKE PART” again on the relevant page. When you select “TAKE PART” you will enter the form from the beginning, however the responses that you have already entered will be there. Remember to “save and continue” as you add to your response.


Can I help someone else take part?

Yes, you can help someone else share their experiences if they need support to take part. There is an option to tell us you are doing this when you complete the form. You may find the Engagement Guide on the group discussion page useful if you are helping someone take part.


Can I get a paper copy of the form and any additional resources?

Yes, Let's Be Heard forms and information sheets can be downloaded and printed. These can be found in the relevant sections of our website; Share your experiences with us, children and young people, Easy Read, translations and group discussions. You can also contact us to request paper copies of forms and information sheets.


Can I get forms and guides translated into other languages?

Yes, our forms and guides are translated into Urdu, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Polish and Gaelic. If you would like information in a format or language which is not listed, please contact us.


Can you accept audio submissions?

Yes, if your preferred method of communication is audio, you can upload your response to the questions as a file using our online form. Please note there is a size limit of 200MB and accepted formats are MP3, WAV or XWAV.


I am helping someone who does not speak English. Can I translate for them?

Yes, groups and individuals can choose to be supported by friends, family members or others when taking part, and Let’s Be Heard is grateful for their support. If professional translators are required, Let’s Be Heard may be able to provide some financial support. Please see our expenses policy for further information.


Will my entry be anonymous?

You can choose to share your experiences anonymously or with your contact details. In the form we will ask for consent to contact you and how you would like us to stay in touch. Information is available about how we manage personal information in our Privacy Notice.

Information that identifies a person, such as names or addresses, should not be included when sharing your experiences. If you do provide these details Let’s Be Heard will delete them for data protection reasons. Once we have removed any identifying information we will include your response in the project.


The individual or group I am helping has additional needs. Can I adapt the material for them?

Yes, Let’s Be Heard recognises that Scotland has a diverse population, and it is important people can take part in the way that best suits them.

However, Let’s Be Heard can only accept responses to the questions in words, either in writing or as an audio recording. This means we require pictorial responses to be interpreted into words, e.g. the artwork along with a summary can be submitted. If you would like to discuss or share any plans to adapt our materials for different people, please contact us.


Where can I get help and support with any difficult feelings or emotions?

We understand that sharing your experiences may evoke some difficult feelings and emotions. Here is a list of organisations which can provide support.



Questions about groups

My organisation has already collected people’s experiences of the pandemic. Should we do it again?

If you have already collected information about people’s experiences of the pandemic, you can share a report with us. You do not need to repeat the process. However, if you have further information that was not captured in your original report, we will also welcome your submissions to Let’s Be Heard.


Can members of a group also submit individual responses?

Yes, if individuals would like to provide detailed responses which include information not provided in their group's response, they can also submit an individual response. They can do this using the online form or paper form.


Most members of my group find it difficult to leave the house. Can I take entries from them using the telephone?

Yes, you can run a group session over the phone and then send us a summary of the responses from all of your group members. Alternatively, you can support your group members by taking a note of their experiences over the phone and then submitting individual entries on their behalf by using the standard online form or paper form, rather than the group facilitation form.


I am a facilitator on behalf of an organisation, can I arrange multiple discussions or meetings?

Yes, organisations supporting many people may wish to hold several facilitation sessions so that more of their members can take part.


We are holding a group discussion, can we invite the Let’s Be Heard team to come along?

Yes, members of the Let’s Be Heard team would welcome being invited to attend any group discussions. If we are able to attend, we can do so to take notes and to hear people’s experiences – this is valuable to Let’s Be Heard.

We would also be happy to answer any questions relating to the Inquiry and Let’s Be Heard but otherwise we will leave the facilitation to you – we understand you are best suited to engage meaningfully with your communities or members and that people would be more comfortable sharing in that environment.

Whether we can attend a group discussion will depend on our capacity, but please do invite us and we will get back to you promptly.


I want to hold a group discussion but I am not sure how to go about it

Our Engagement Guide has been designed to help facilitators hold a group discussion and includes talking points and questions to ask to help start and guide the discussion. If you have read the Engagement Guide and have further questions about holding a group discussion, please contact us and we will do our best to provide some guidance.


Can I distribute Let’s Be Heard material within my group and to other groups?

Yes, we would encourage you to share our website and material. You cancontact usto request paper copies of forms and information sheets. Please provide details of where material should be sent and the quantity required.



Questions about reports and updates

Can I see responses from other organisations or individuals?

No, all submissions to Let’s Be Heard are confidential, meaning you will not be able to read responses from other organisations or individuals. When Let’s Be Heard publishes reports, you will be able to read collated, anonymous summaries of responses.


How can I get updates about Let’s Be Heard or the Inquiry?

You can sign up to receive email updates, or write to us at LetsBeHeard@covid19inquiry.scot or Freepost SCOTTISH COVID-19 INQUIRY.


Contacting Let’s Be Heard

If you have any queries, about Let's Be Heard, need support to take part, or if you would like to request some of our materials in another language or format, please contact us.

Email:
LetsBeHeard@covid19inquiry.scot
Post:
Freepost, SCOTTISH COVID-19 INQUIRY
Voicemail:
0808 175 5555

General questions

What are the aims of the Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry?

The Scottish COVID-19 Inquiry is investigating Scotland’s devolved strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland. The Inquiry will:

  • establish the facts and identify any lessons that can learned for the future;
  • report on areas where things could have been done better and on what worked well; and
  • make recommendations to Scottish Ministers.

The Inquiry is independent from the Scottish Government. To find out more about this and the Inquiry overall visit the “About” section of the Inquiry website.

Please note that inquiries do not investigate individual cases. They do not decide civil or criminal liability, nor award compensation.


What areas is the Inquiry investigating?

The Inquiry is investigating the key areas and topics set out in its Terms of Reference. These areas cover health, education, business, financial and welfare support, as well as pandemic preparedness in Scotland. These investigations cover decisions made by the Scottish Government and other public bodies about the pandemic.

Areas covered by the Inquiry include:

  • Preparation for the pandemic
  • Lockdown and other restrictions
  • COVID testing and the delivery of vaccination programmes
  • Managing outbreaks
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Shielding
  • Care homes and nursing homes
  • Health and social care services
  • Unpaid carers
  • End of life care
  • Do not attempt to resuscitate orders (DNACPR)
  • Welfare assistance programmes
  • Education
  • Support for businesses and the self-employed


The UK COVID-19 Inquiry is also gathering people’s experiences, including from people in Scotland. You can share with the UK Inquiry, the Scottish Inquiry, or both. For more information, please have a look at our Scottish and UK Inquiries page.


What are the aims of Let’s Be Heard?

Let’s Be Heard is the main way in which people can interact with, and contribute to, the Inquiry. It aims to give a voice to as many people across Scotland as possible. The Inquiry is investigating how the handling of the pandemic impacted people, including whether there were any unequal impacts. To do this, the Inquiry needs to hear from as many different people as possible. To find out more, please visit About Let's Be Heard.


How does Let’s Be Heard shape the Inquiry’s work?

Information gathered through Let’s Be Heard has the same status as that gathered through our impact hearings. Our Let’s Be Heard team will analyse your experiences and will be working with the Inquiry's investigations team on key findings and recurring or emerging themes. We will publish a series of reports reflecting these findings.



Questions about taking part

Who can take part?

Anyone living in Scotland, or who was affected by decisions made in Scotland, between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2022 can share their experiences of the pandemic with Let's Be Heard.


What are the timescales for taking part?

While our national engagement period ended on 20 December, the online platform will remain open and we are happy to continue accepting submissions into 2024.After this, we will begin our Focused Engagement Period, where we will conduct more specific engagement and research activities, such as focus groups and workshops in order to fill any information gaps or provide a more detailed information base.


Submitting your response

We accept responses anonymously or with contact details and you can choose whether to register with us or not. You do not need to be registered to submit a form.

If you are registered and logged into your account when you submit your online form, you will receive an automatic email copy of your full submission.

If you are not registered and you close the online form before submitting it, your responses will not be saved or sent to Let’s Be Heard.

Let’s Be Heard can only see submitted online forms, we cannot see partially completed online forms. Once an online form is submitted it is not possible to edit it, however there is no limit to how many online forms you submit.


How can I save my online form so that I can come back to it later?

If you are registered and logged in to your account when you are completing your form, you can save your online form and return to it later. Before you leave your online form, remember to select “save and continue” on the page you are currently on.

We strongly recommend that you type your answers into a separate document, then copy and paste them into the boxes in this form. You will then have a record of your answers, registered or not, and you can easily submit your responses to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry’s listening exercise, Every Story Matters.


I am registered, how do I return to my partially completed form?

If you have registered with Let’s Be Heard and you made your submission while registered, you can return to a partially completed form. You can return to your form by logging into your account from the Let’s Be Heard website.

To log in to your account, select “sign in” in the menu at the top of your screen. If you are logging in from a phone, you will need to select the three line menu icon in the top right-hand corner of your phone then select “log in” from the drop-down menu that appears. You will be asked to enter your log in details that you created when first registering.

Once you have logged in, you can return to the form that you were using by selecting “TAKE PART” again on the relevant page. When you select “TAKE PART” you will enter the form from the beginning, however the responses that you have already entered will be there. Remember to “save and continue” as you add to your response.


Can I help someone else take part?

Yes, you can help someone else share their experiences if they need support to take part. There is an option to tell us you are doing this when you complete the form. You may find the Engagement Guide on the group discussion page useful if you are helping someone take part.


Can I get a paper copy of the form and any additional resources?

Yes, Let's Be Heard forms and information sheets can be downloaded and printed. These can be found in the relevant sections of our website; Share your experiences with us, children and young people, Easy Read, translations and group discussions. You can also contact us to request paper copies of forms and information sheets.


Can I get forms and guides translated into other languages?

Yes, our forms and guides are translated into Urdu, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Polish and Gaelic. If you would like information in a format or language which is not listed, please contact us.


Can you accept audio submissions?

Yes, if your preferred method of communication is audio, you can upload your response to the questions as a file using our online form. Please note there is a size limit of 200MB and accepted formats are MP3, WAV or XWAV.


I am helping someone who does not speak English. Can I translate for them?

Yes, groups and individuals can choose to be supported by friends, family members or others when taking part, and Let’s Be Heard is grateful for their support. If professional translators are required, Let’s Be Heard may be able to provide some financial support. Please see our expenses policy for further information.


Will my entry be anonymous?

You can choose to share your experiences anonymously or with your contact details. In the form we will ask for consent to contact you and how you would like us to stay in touch. Information is available about how we manage personal information in our Privacy Notice.

Information that identifies a person, such as names or addresses, should not be included when sharing your experiences. If you do provide these details Let’s Be Heard will delete them for data protection reasons. Once we have removed any identifying information we will include your response in the project.


The individual or group I am helping has additional needs. Can I adapt the material for them?

Yes, Let’s Be Heard recognises that Scotland has a diverse population, and it is important people can take part in the way that best suits them.

However, Let’s Be Heard can only accept responses to the questions in words, either in writing or as an audio recording. This means we require pictorial responses to be interpreted into words, e.g. the artwork along with a summary can be submitted. If you would like to discuss or share any plans to adapt our materials for different people, please contact us.


Where can I get help and support with any difficult feelings or emotions?

We understand that sharing your experiences may evoke some difficult feelings and emotions. Here is a list of organisations which can provide support.



Questions about groups

My organisation has already collected people’s experiences of the pandemic. Should we do it again?

If you have already collected information about people’s experiences of the pandemic, you can share a report with us. You do not need to repeat the process. However, if you have further information that was not captured in your original report, we will also welcome your submissions to Let’s Be Heard.


Can members of a group also submit individual responses?

Yes, if individuals would like to provide detailed responses which include information not provided in their group's response, they can also submit an individual response. They can do this using the online form or paper form.


Most members of my group find it difficult to leave the house. Can I take entries from them using the telephone?

Yes, you can run a group session over the phone and then send us a summary of the responses from all of your group members. Alternatively, you can support your group members by taking a note of their experiences over the phone and then submitting individual entries on their behalf by using the standard online form or paper form, rather than the group facilitation form.


I am a facilitator on behalf of an organisation, can I arrange multiple discussions or meetings?

Yes, organisations supporting many people may wish to hold several facilitation sessions so that more of their members can take part.


We are holding a group discussion, can we invite the Let’s Be Heard team to come along?

Yes, members of the Let’s Be Heard team would welcome being invited to attend any group discussions. If we are able to attend, we can do so to take notes and to hear people’s experiences – this is valuable to Let’s Be Heard.

We would also be happy to answer any questions relating to the Inquiry and Let’s Be Heard but otherwise we will leave the facilitation to you – we understand you are best suited to engage meaningfully with your communities or members and that people would be more comfortable sharing in that environment.

Whether we can attend a group discussion will depend on our capacity, but please do invite us and we will get back to you promptly.


I want to hold a group discussion but I am not sure how to go about it

Our Engagement Guide has been designed to help facilitators hold a group discussion and includes talking points and questions to ask to help start and guide the discussion. If you have read the Engagement Guide and have further questions about holding a group discussion, please contact us and we will do our best to provide some guidance.


Can I distribute Let’s Be Heard material within my group and to other groups?

Yes, we would encourage you to share our website and material. You cancontact usto request paper copies of forms and information sheets. Please provide details of where material should be sent and the quantity required.



Questions about reports and updates

Can I see responses from other organisations or individuals?

No, all submissions to Let’s Be Heard are confidential, meaning you will not be able to read responses from other organisations or individuals. When Let’s Be Heard publishes reports, you will be able to read collated, anonymous summaries of responses.


How can I get updates about Let’s Be Heard or the Inquiry?

You can sign up to receive email updates, or write to us at LetsBeHeard@covid19inquiry.scot or Freepost SCOTTISH COVID-19 INQUIRY.


Contacting Let’s Be Heard

If you have any queries, about Let's Be Heard, need support to take part, or if you would like to request some of our materials in another language or format, please contact us.

Email:
LetsBeHeard@covid19inquiry.scot
Post:
Freepost, SCOTTISH COVID-19 INQUIRY
Voicemail:
0808 175 5555
Page last updated: 09 Feb 2024, 04:55 PM