On 17 June 1996 the Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt Hon William Hague MP, informed the House of Commons of the Government’s decision, subject to the approval of both Houses of Parliament, that there should be a judicial inquiry, with the powers conferred by the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921, into the alleged abuse of children in care in the former county council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974.
The Secretary of State announced also that the terms of reference of the Inquiry would be as follows:
(a) to inquire into the abuse of children in care in the former county council areas of Gwynedd and Clwyd since 1974;
(b) to examine whether the agencies and authorities responsible for such care, through the placement of the children or through the regulation or management of the facilities, could have prevented the abuse or detected its occurrence at an earlier stage;
(c) to examine the response of the relevant authorities and agencies to allegations and complaints of abuse made either by children in care, children formerly in care or any other persons, excluding scrutiny of decisions whether to prosecute named individuals;
(d) in the light of this examination, to consider whether the relevant caring and investigative agencies discharged their functions appropriately and, in the case of the caring agencies, whether they are doing so now; and to report its findings and to make recommendations to him.