Staff evidence FAQs

Can I provide evidence on a confidential basis?

If you would like to provide any part of your evidence on a confidential basis, please let us know. The Inquiry wants staff to be able to speak freely and in detail about any concerns which they may have. We understand that many people would prefer to do this without their employer, manager or colleagues being aware.

The Inquiry will work with members of staff to provide the necessary assurances of confidentiality. We will not make any of your details public nor will we tell your employer that you have spoken to us without discussing this with you first.

There may be some circumstances where we need to share information to assist us in our investigations, or in relation to safeguarding or if a crime has been committed. Where that happens, we will speak to you first in order to explain the processes in place.

Further information can be found on our website within our Privacy Information Notice and our Safeguarding Policy. 

If I am a member of staff and am called to attend an evidence session, what can I expect?

The Chair of the Inquiry wants to hear about your experiences so that the Inquiry can better understand the care and treatment provided to patients, to hear first-hand what it’s like to work in mental health care, and to develop proposals for lasting improvements. The Chair encourages all who are called to provide evidence to be open within sessions (see separate FAQ on confidentiality).  

If you are called to attend an evidence session, you will meet with two members of the Inquiry team in a private setting. If you would like to you can bring someone with you to provide support, be it a friend, lawyer or union representative (however, please note that the Inquiry will not be able to cover the cost of any legal fees).  You will have the opportunity to share your experiences of working in mental health and will be asked questions by the Inquiry team. Each session will last a maximum of 90 minutes. The session will be recorded using a Dictaphone and you will be provided with a transcript of your session afterwards. The Inquiry team will contact you a few weeks before your session so that you are aware of how the session will run, and what types of questions you might be asked.

What support is available to people giving evidence to the Inquiry?

We understand that giving evidence to the Inquiry may be emotionally challenging or stressful. The Inquiry team will treat anyone who comes forward with dignity and respect. The Inquiry provides dedicated and independent emotional support to all our witnesses through the British Red Cross. You can contact them on  

I don’t work in Essex; can I still share my views?

Yes. The Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry has been established to investigate deaths which took place within Essex. However, if you have information which you think may assist the Inquiry in its work, in particular in relation to making recommendations to improve patient care more broadly, then please do get in touch.

Who are you interested in hearing from? Am I able to share my views?

The Inquiry welcomes information from anyone working or volunteering in mental health care. This may include but is not limited to: all staff from the multi-disciplinary team, doctors, nurses, care workers, psychologists, therapists, social workers, peer workers, catering staff, cleaners, porters.

This list is not exhaustive – if you are not sure whether your evidence may be relevant, please get in touch to discuss further with the Inquiry team.

What will happen to my evidence?

Your responses will form part of the evidence to be considered by the Inquiry in developing its investigations. If you have shared your contact details with us, we may be in touch to ask for further information or to share details of further opportunities to engage with the Inquiry, such as focus group sessions.

The Inquiry handles all personal information received in line with our Privacy Information Notice.

How will you contact me if you require more information?

If you have shared your contact details with us, we will contact you via your preferred contact method.

Is there any other way I can give evidence?

If you need any assistance in responding to the questions, or would prefer to give your evidence verbally, you can email or leave a voicemail on 020 7972 3500 and we will call you back.

I have some more questions about giving evidence. Can I find out more?

Yes. You can contact the team via email at or leave a voicemail on 0207 972 3500. A member of the team will then be in touch with you to discuss the process of evidence giving and any queries you may have.

What is the Inquiry’s definition of “inpatient deaths”?

As set out in the Explanatory Note to our Terms of Reference, the Inquiry uses the term “inpatient deaths” to include:

  • those who died within acute mental health inpatient units;
  • those who died while on leave from a mental health unit;
  • those who died following transfer from a mental health inpatient unit to a physical health unit (including A&E) or to an out of area mental health service;
  • those who died during a period when they absconded or were absent without leave from a mental health inpatient unit;
  • those who died while awaiting an assessment under the Mental Health Act or while waiting for a bed in a mental health inpatient unit following a clinical assessment of need;
  • those who died up to 3 months following discharge from a mental health inpatient unit.