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Frequently asked questions: the Inquiry

The Inquiry

Who decided to have the Inquiry? 

Governments decide the timings of inquiries. UK combat troops withdrew from Iraq in July 2009 and the then Government judged it was the right time to begin an Inquiry. 

Sir John and his colleagues were not consulted on the Inquiry's terms of reference before their appointment.

What were the Inquiry's terms of reference?

As Sir John Chilcot said at the launch of the launch of the Inquiry on 30 July 2009, the purpose of the Inquiry was to examine the United Kingdom's involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish as accurately and reliably as possible what happened and to identify lessons that can be learned.  The Inquiry considered the period from 2001 up to the end of July 2009. 

Who were the members of the Inquiry Committee?

Sir John Chilcot (Chairman), Sir Lawrence Freedman, Sir Roderic Lyne and Baroness Usha Prashar. 

Sir Martin Gilbert worked on the Inquiry from its outset until he was taken seriously ill in April 2012. He died in February 2015.

Who picked the members? 

The former Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed the members of the Committee. Opposition parties were consulted. 

What are the Committee members paid?

Members of the Iraq Inquiry Committee were paid at the following rates throughout the duration of the Inquiry:

Chairman £790 per day;

Committee members £565 per day.

What experts did the Inquiry Have to assist it, and what experience do they have?

The Iraq Inquiry appointed two advisers to help it conduct its works. General Sir Roger Wheeler, a former Chief of the General Staff, assisted the Committee on military matters and Dame Rosalyn Higgins QC, the former President of the International Court of Justice, advised on international law.

Who staffed the Iraq Inquiry Secretariat?

The Secretariat supported the Inquiry Committee Chairman and the other members of the Inquiry in carrying out their tasks. That included a wide range of duties (from logistical arrangements to requesting papers and statements and preparing papers for the Committee's consideration) agreed by the Committee.

The number and membership of the Secretariat varied over the course of the Inquiry. At its close, it comprised 13 staff seconded from the following Government Departments: the Cabinet Office, 5; the Home Office, two; the Ministry of Defence, one; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, one; the Serious Fraud Office, one; the Department of International Development, one; the Ministry of Justice, one; and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, one. There were also two support staff from outside Government.

Who was the Iraq Inquiry Secretary?

The Cabinet Secretary nominated Margaret Aldred as the Secretary in June 2009.  She was seconded to the Inquiry from the Cabinet Office.

Was the Chairman of the Inquiry aware of Ms Aldred's previous involvement in Iraq issues before he agreed to her appointment?

The Cabinet Secretary decided to nominate the Secretary to the Iraq Inquiry and agreed the appointment with the Chairman of the Inquiry. 

Both the Cabinet Secretary and the Chairman oif the Inquiry agreed that the Secretary to the Inquiry should be a senior individual in the civil service ideally with previous involvement in Iraq issues.

The Chairman of the Inquiry was aware of the candidate's role in the Foreign and Defence Policy (formerly the Defence and Overseas) Secretariat in the Cabinet Office from November 2004, when he agreed the appointment. Given the professional standards of the senior civil service, he saw no potential conflict of interest with her appointment as Secretary to the Inquiry that would, in his view, affect the independence of the Inquiry.

Sir John told the Foreign Affairs Committee in February 2015: "she is a highly professional and longstanding civil servant who acts under the general civil service code and indeed its set of values, which are those of impartiality".

How was her previous involvement in Iraq Issues handled?

The Inquiry has papers from the Cabinet Office covering the whole period of its terms of reference. This includes papers produced by the Foreign and Defence Policy (formerly the Defence and Overseas) Secretariat where Ms Aldred worked. The Committee and members of the Secretariat have full access to these papers.

How much did the Inquiry cost?

The Iraq Inquiry has published the final expenditure for the financial years 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16.

The Inquiry's estimated expenditure for 2016/17 can be found here.