Costly delays to inquiry begin to add up

On the 7th July 2014, Theresa May, established an enquiry into the failings of public bodies in light of the nationwide paedophilia scandal of the preceding years. Nearly a year later, the website for The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was “declared to be formally opened”.

The moral questions of this delay aside, Martin Beckford’s article The Mail on Sunday revealed the extent of the economic inefficiencies of this investigation. It has cost the taxpayer a total of £1.2 million in the last year. Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said on Thursday:

"These are quite large figures for an inquiry launched a year ago which has not yet taken any formal evidence. The committee will monitor developments and progress and has every confidence in Judge Goddard's ability to progress matters."

The Mail on Sunday article continues: “Between July 2014 and the end of March, the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse spent £1,261,316. It works out at £4,706 for each of the 268 days since it was announced. Of this, £725,525 went on staff, £145,723 on office accommodation, £203,838 on IT services, £164,730 on legal costs, £16,534 on travel and victims’ events, with the rest going on ‘running costs’ such as recruitment and training.”

Failings in government transparency and accountability have also emerged in this inquiry, as Beckford points out that “the first details of the public inquiry’s spending, published in an obscure corner of its website, come months after MPs and journalists battled for information.” The release of such information as soon and as clearly as possible is part of our call for government transparency, and in this case, it would most certainly have prompted these concerns to be raised earlier, possibly reducing profligacies in government spending.

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