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Government to publish response to report on experiences of Hillsborough families

The Government is expected to respond on Wednesday to a report on the experiences of the Hillsborough families – more than six years after it was published (Peter Byrne/PA)
The Government is expected to respond on Wednesday to a report on the experiences of the Hillsborough families – more than six years after it was published (Peter Byrne/PA)

The Government is expected to respond on Wednesday to a report on the experiences of the Hillsborough families – more than six years after it was published.

Former Bishop of Liverpool the Right Reverend James Jones published the review in November 2017 following inquests into the deaths at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield – where 97 Liverpool FC fans died.

The report, titled The Patronising Disposition of Unaccountable Power, set out 25 “essential” learning points and called for the establishment of a charter for families bereaved by public tragedy, publicly-funded legal representation for families at inquests where public bodies are represented, and a “duty of candour” for police officers.

In November, the Ministry of Justice it would establish an Independent Public Advocate (IPA) to provide support for victims of major disasters in England and Wales, and last year the Home Office commissioned an independent review to consider what went wrong with the original pathology report into the deaths, following a recommendation from the former bishop.

The families of those who died in the disaster are expected to see the Government’s full response to the report on Wednesday morning, before it is published at midday.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Jones, who was Bishop of Liverpool from 1998 to 2013 and chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel, said the day will be a “milestone” for the families.

He said: “One of the things that I’ve said is that grief is a journey without destination.

“There are milestones along the way and, of course, the panel report and the inquest and unlawful killing (ruling) were very significant milestones for the families, and today will also be such a milestone for them.”

Campaigners are calling for a “Hillsborough Law” or Public Authority (Accountability) Bill, which would create a legal duty of candour on public authorities and officials to tell the truth and proactively co-operate with official investigations and inquiries.

Inquests into the deaths at the match, between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, concluded in 2016 and found that fans were unlawfully killed and errors by the police and ambulance service caused or contributed to their deaths.