13 November, 2020

Ampersand QC to head Council culture inquiry

The City of Edinburgh Council has confirmed that Ampersand’s Susanne Tanner QC will lead the independent inquiry into the circumstances concerning the sudden death of a Council employee.

Ms Tanner has a 23-year career in the legal profession in Scotland, including an appointment as an Advocate Depute with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and has been a QC since 2016. Her areas of practice include public inquiries and fatal accident inquiries, reparation, criminal and regulatory matters. She is a certified arbitrator, mediator and a tribunal chair. She is dual qualified as a barrister in England and Wales.

She will be assisted by a UK investigation team from independent legal firm, Pinsent Masons, who have considerable experience in this area. Pending the appointment of the Chair, the firm have been ensuring that all governance arrangements are in place to allow the inquiry to proceed on an independent basis, and in accordance with the decision of Council on 15 October 2020.

Council Leader Adam McVey said:

The appointment of Susanne Tanner to head this independent inquiry will be welcome news for everyone. She commands great respect in the legal profession and her experience, ability and impartiality is unquestionable. Her track record speaks for itself and we can already see real progress in the inquiry under her as Independent Chair.

We expect to finalise a very clear and thorough terms of reference, setting out exactly what we are aiming to achieve through this inquiry – getting the assurance we need as elected members as well as identifying recommendations for positive changes that can be made to strengthen the culture of the Council.

Depute Leader Cammy Day said:

I’m pleased this decision has cross-party support and this appointment now means the inquiry can move forward to look into the serious matters that have been raised. An important element will be the investigation team hearing from staff on any concerns they may have so I would urge anyone who wants to share information to come forward – everyone’s voices will be heard.

The terms of reference for both aspects of the inquiry will be finalised by the Chair in consultation with the Council’s political leaders. These will be published shortly, together with a call for evidence.

In the meantime, anyone who wishes to provide information to the inquiry or to contact the inquiry team in confidence should do so by emailing CECReview@pinsentmasons.com

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