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Home Office: Experts appointed to Hillsborough paper panel

26 January 2010

An expert team has been appointed to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, Home Secretary Alan Johnson announced today.

The seven panellists include specialists in research, medicine, archives, policing and the media. They will assist The Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, who will chair the body.
 
Bishop James will be joined by public information expert Christine Gifford; TV producer and researcher Katy Jones; Paul Leighton, former Deputy chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland; academic criminologist professor Phil Scraton; Dr Bill Kirkup, former associate medical director at the Department of Health; broadcaster Peter Sissons and archivist Sarah Tyacke.
 
The Hillsborough Independent Panel will oversee the publication of papers surrounding the 1989 tragedy, in which 96 Liverpool football supporters lost their lives. It will meet for the first time in Liverpool on 4 February.

Statement from the Home Secretary

Alan Johnson said, 'The new panellists are all experts in their field and will bring a range of vital skills to the work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
 
'I am delighted they have accepted the responsibility of assisting Bishop James in releasing papers surrounding the terrible tragedy.'
 
The Hillsborough Independent Panel and its terms of reference were established last month.

Statement from the chair of the panel

Bishop James said, 'Great thought has been given to the set of skills needed to do this important work. I am so pleased that my colleagues have agreed to join the panel and dedicate themselves to this major task. Together they provide excellent skills for the serious work of overseeing the disclosure of the documents.'
 
The Hillsborough families have been consulted throughout the process of establishing the panel and in the appointments announced today.

Statement from the chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group
Margaret Aspinall said, 'The HFSG is extremely pleased that the panel announced today is now nearly complete and that the archive and review work can soon begin in earnest.
 
'We welcome the panel which has the confidence of all interested parties and is felt capable of executing this very important task. We look forward to working with them over the coming months and hope that the outcome is satisfactory.'