Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Council adopts Charter for Families Bereaved Through Public Tragedy

  • Charter written by former Bishop of Liverpool following the Hillsborough Disaster
  • West Lancashire stands 'shoulder to shoulder' with bereaved families


West Lancashire Borough Council has adopted The Charter for Families Bereaved Through Public Tragedy.

The Charter was written by the former Bishop of Liverpool to ensure the suffering endured by families bereaved following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster is not repeated should similar disastrous events occur in the future.

By adopting the Charter, West Lancashire Borough Council commits to ensuring that it learns the lessons of the Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath.

This is to make sure the perspective of the bereaved families would not be lost and that in the face of a public tragedy, accountability, honesty and consideration for those who have lost loved ones would be paramount.

West Lancashire Borough Council has therefore committed to becoming an organisation which strives to:

  • In the event of a public tragedy, activate its emergency plan and deploy its resources to rescue victims, to support the bereaved and to protect the vulnerable.
  • Place the public interest above our own reputation.
  • Approach forms of public scrutiny – including public inquiries and inquests – with candour, in an open, honest and transparent way, making full disclosure of relevant documents, material and facts. Our objective is to assist the search for the truth. We accept that we should learn from the findings of external scrutiny and from past mistakes.
  • Avoid seeking to defend the indefensible or to dismiss or disparage those who may have suffered where we have fallen short.
  • Ensure all members of staff treat members of the public and each other with mutual respect and with courtesy. Where we fall short, we should apologise straightforwardly and genuinely.
  • Recognise that we are accountable and open to challenge. We will ensure that processes are in place to allow the public to hold us to account for the work we do and for the way in which we do it. We do not knowingly mislead the public or the media.

Councillor Anne Fennell, portfolio holder for Communities, said: "The City of Liverpool is culturally important to many of our residents - it's part of our identity as a Borough. 

"This closeness means that we have many families who have been, and continue to be, affected by the Hillsborough Tragedy.

"This charter will help us as a Council ensure we do not make the same mistakes other institutions have made in the past in the aftermath of any future disasters.

"I am delighted that my fellow councillors from all parties have backed this unanimously. I hope that it will bring some comfort to those families to know that we have listened to them and that their loved ones are remembered and respected."