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Who’s who at the Inquiry » Iraq Inquiry Digest

Who’s who at the Inquiry


The following pages give details of the membership of the Inquiry and about its advisers and secretariat.

The Committee:

Sir John Chilcot (Chairman)

Sir Lawrence Freedman

Sir Martin Gilbert

Sir Roderic Lyne

Baroness Usha Prashar

Advisers:

On 13 October 2009 the committee announced that it had appointed two advisers to help it conduct its work.

General Sir Roger Wheeler, the former Chief of the General Staff, will assist the committee on military matters.

Dame Rosalyn Higgins, the former President of the International Court of Justice, will advise on international law.

Secretariat: 

Little is known so far about the Inquiry’s secretariat. The Secretary to the Inquiry is Margaret Aldred, who is on secondment from the Cabinet Office, where she is Director-General (Deputy Head) of the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat. According to the Inquiry:

“Ms Aldred joined the Civil Service as a graduate trainee in 1975. She spent 25 years in the Ministry of Defence, where she worked in a wide range of areas, including three years as the Principal Private Secretary to the Defence Secretary. Her last post in the MoD was Director General Management and Organisation. She has also worked in HM Treasury and the Home Office, and took up her current post in the Cabinet Office in November 2004.

Ms Aldred was appointed CBE in the 1991 Gulf Honours list, and CB in the 2009 New Years Honours list.”

The Digest has raised questions about how Aldred came to be appointed, in spite of her previous significant involvement in shaping Iraq policy within the Cabinet Office, and about the role that she had in negotiating the Inquiry’s terms of reference, including the protocol that restricts the Inquiry’s ability to make public the content of documents given to it by the government. Blog posts on this issue can be found in the Secretariat category.

The Inquiry’s Frequently Asked Questions page says the following about these issues:

Who is the Iraq Inquiry Secretary?

The Cabinet Secretary nominated Margaret Aldred as the Secretary in June 2009. She is on secondment 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 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 of 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 Policy) 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.

How is her previous involvement in Iraq issues being 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 Overseas and Defence) Secretariat where Ms Aldred worked. The Committee and members of the Secretariat have full access to these papers.

Who was responsible for drafting and agreeing the Iraq Inquiry information sharing protocol?

The protocol was discussed between the relevant government departments, the Intelligence agencies and members of the Secretariat before it was approved by Sir John Chilcot and his colleagues. It was then signed by the Cabinet Office and the Inquiry Secretary.


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