asking for the public’s input into the trams inquiry is an astute move by Lord Hardie. As is clarifying that he doesn’t want to be inundated straight away – there will after all be no shortage of willing respondents.
For a project which has had such an impact on life in Edinburgh, and one which we will all be paying off for many years to come, it is vital that anyone who wants to is given the opportunity to contribute.
Don’t sharpen your pencils or fire off your emails just yet… Lord Hardie will detail exactly what kind of information he wants submitted as the inquiry moves forward.
There is the small matter of two million digital files and 200 boxes of documents to tackle first.
Aided by a specialist software to sift through the recovered emails – and crucially identify where there might be gaps – we can be confident that the judge is well equipped in his task.
Getting to the truth will be no easy matter.
We don’t even, perhaps wisely for a project which was so often delayed and delayed again, have a timescale on a final report.
But Lord Hardie tells us today he is “honoured” to lead the investigation and determined that it will lead to lessons being learned in the future.
The drama will come later when witnesses are examined in public on what they did, when and why as the scheme went so spectacularly off the rails.
In the meantime, the tram inquiry website is now live with a pledge to publish as much information as possible as and when it is available.
There will be pressure for a quick answer but this approach is hard to fault.
We have to accept that getting to the bottom of a mess like the £776 million tram project won’t happen overnight.
By keeping the inquiry as transparent as possible and encouraging submissions from local businesses, community councils and ordinary members of the public on their experiences during the work, he is on the right track already.