About

Carl Sargeant was a Member of the Welsh Assembly and Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children. He died on 7 November 2017.

On 10 November 2017, the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, announced his intention to appoint a senior barrister (known as a ‘Queen’s Counsel’) to investigate his actions and decisions in relation to Carl Sargeant.

The Terms of Reference are as follows:

“To conduct an investigation into the First Minister’s actions and decisions in relation to Carl Sargeant’s departure from his post as Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children and thereafter.”

You can read about the Investigator, Paul Bowen Q.C. and his team here.

The Independent QC Investigation is investigating the First Minister’s actions and decisions in relation to Carl Sargeant’s departure from his post as Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children and thereafter.

The Investigation’s Terms of Reference have been set by the Welsh Government after consultation with the family of Carl Sargeant.

The Investigation cannot investigate matters which fall outside of its Terms of Reference. Two other separate inquiries were established by the Welsh Government to address other issues.

The Investigation has published a preliminary issues list which gives more information about the matters it considers falls within its Terms of Reference.

  • The Investigation was originally suspended for six months from 5 September 2018, pending the outcome of the family’s judicial review of the Operational Protocol for the Investigation set by the Welsh Government in Sargeant, R (On the Application Of) v First Minister Of Wales & Anor;
  • Judgment was handed down on 27 March 2019, allowing the claim for judicial review on the grounds of the previous First Minister’s unlawful involvement in setting the Operational Protocol;
  • On 4 April 2019 the new First Minister made a statement announcing the appointment of Jonathan Jones QC, Treasury Solicitor and head of the Government Legal Department, to review the Operational Protocol;
  • On 9 April 2019 Mr Bowen QC wrote to the Permanent Secretary requesting clarification as to the First Minister’s statement and announcing his provisional intention to resume the Investigation with the active stage to be undertaken once the Inquest had complete
  • On 26 April 2019 the Welsh Government wrote to Mr Bowen QC stating that the Investigation could not proceed until the Operational Protocol was finalised, and that no further steps should be taken by Mr Bowen QC;
  • On 3 May 2019 Mr Bowen QC wrote to the Welsh Government stating his view that the decision whether and when to resume the Investigation was for the independent Investigator, subject to consultation with the Core Participants, including the Welsh Government;
  • On 12 June 2019 the Welsh Government wrote to the Investigator requesting that the Investigation remain suspended;
  • On 2 July 2019 the Investigator sought the views of the other core participants as to whether and when the Investigation should be resumed;
  • On 3 July 2019 Jonathan Jones QC completed his review of the Operational Protocol recommending a few technical changes;
  • On 4 July 2019 solicitors for the family of Carl Sargeant QC wrote to Mr Bowen QC setting out their views on the resumption of the Investigation;
  • On 8 July 2019 the inquest proceedings resumed and were concluded on 11 July 2019;
  • On 11 July the First Minister published the revised Operational Protocol and announced a “period of reflection” following the conclusion of the inquest in order to conduct a consultation with interested parties regarding the Investigation’s next steps;
  • On 24 July Mr. Bowen QC decided to continue the suspension of the Investigation pending the First Minister’s decision on its future direction.

The Welsh Government, after consultation with the Investigator and the family of Carl Sargeant, has fixed the procedure, set out in an Operational Protocol which can be accessed here.

Although the Terms of Reference and the Operational Protocol have been set by the Welsh Government, in all other respects the Investigation is independent. The Investigator and his team are entirely independent from the Welsh Government. Information that the Investigator gathers will be safely stored independently of the Welsh Government. The Investigator and his team will investigate the important issues within the Terms of Reference fully and fairly.

The Investigation is keen to hear from anyone who thinks they may have relevant information about the issues being investigated within the Terms of Reference. If you have relevant documents or information, please respond to the call for evidence. If you have any other queries, please contact us.

Yes, Due to the sensitive nature of the matters being investigated, these will not be open to the public or media although Core Participants may be able to attend.

The Investigation is currently suspended pending the outcome of the Judicial Review. Dates for hearings will not now be set until the Judicial Review has been determined and will not take place before Spring 2019.

Information held by the Investigation is exempted from freedom of information requests by s.32 of the Freedom of Information Act. It is however subject to the principles of open justice under the common law and Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

The Investigator intends that the Investigation will be held in as open and transparent a manner as possible in light of the sensitive issues being investigated:

  • Anyone who wishes to provide evidence may do so by responding to the call for evidence.
  • Certain persons will be designated as ‘Core Participants’ in order that they may participate in the Investigation and access materials and hearings which, for reasons of sensitivity and privacy, will not be made available or open to the public.
  • A detailed report will be published at the conclusion of the Investigation.

It was originally intended that the report would be published within six months of the date upon which the call to evidence was published.

However, the Investigation is currently suspended pending the outcome of the Judicial Review.

This means the Investigation’s report will now not be published until next year.

If for any reason this timetable should change again, the Investigation will publish an update on this website.

A Core Participant is a person or organisation which, in the Investigator’s view, has a particularly close connection to the Investigation’s work. It is intended that Core Participants will participate in the Investigation in various ways, for example receiving advance disclosure of documents, attending hearings (although this may be subject to restrictions in accordance with the Operational Protocol) and suggesting lines of questioning to be pursued by Counsel to the Investigation. The Investigation is currently in the process of designating Core Participants. If you consider you should be a Core Participant, please read the further information here.

The Investigator may request the Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Government to agree to reimbursement of a person’s legal costs where he considers it is essential to the effective conduct of the investigation. If you believe you should be entitled to reimbursement of your legal costs, please email the Solicitor to the Investigation at solicitor@iqci.org.uk setting out why in your view it is essential to the effective conduct of the Investigation that your costs are reimbursed.

Yes. The Investigation will provide ‘warning letters’ to relevant individuals in advance of the report’s publication and provide a reasonable opportunity for them to respond to potential criticisms.

An inquest has been opened into Carl Sargeant’s death. Its focus will be different from this Investigation. The Investigator will update the coroner on progress during the course of the Investigation.

The legal authority for the Investigation is derived from the First Minister’s functions set out in sections 48 and 71 of the Government of Wales Act 2006. It is not being held under the Inquiries Act 2005.

The Investigation is currently suspended pending the outcome of the Judicial Review.

This means the Investigation’s report, which will be tabled in the Welsh Assembly and published online, will not now be published until next year.

If for any reason this timetable should change again, the Investigation will publish an update on this website.

The Investigation will publish its report and key documents in both English and Welsh. This website can be viewed in Welsh by clicking the ‘Cymraeg’ link above. If Core Participants or witnesses wish to engage with the Investigation in Welsh, including at the hearings, then this will be arranged.

The next steps are to:

The Investigation will continue to hold the evidence it has received but will take no further action on it until the Judicial Review has been determined.