Bloody Sunday Inquiry

High profile, sensitive 5,000 page report published securely to an international media and general public audience of millions.



Tibus was approached by The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) to deliver the sensitive and high profile Saville Report into the events of Bloody Sunday 1972. Published almost exclusively online and subject to intense media interest from across the world, Tibus designed and delivered a solution based on a number of technologies that allowed extremely large numbers of visitors requesting 5,000 pages of content to be served without a hint of impropriety or favour. With the risk of reputational harm in the eyes of international audiences extremely high, this exceptionally successful project was designed and delivered by Tibus.

The Challenge

Tibus was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Office to develop and publish the official Bloody Sunday Inquiry website. This commission was highly sensitive, and the physical, technical, information and personnel security arrangements around the planning, development and launch needed to be second to none.

Against a backdrop of alleged cover-ups and misinformation, The Inquiry could not, under any circumstances have, for example, the British Army able to dissect and comment on the report to the world's media before Sinn Fein, even by a few minutes. That made timing and delivery a critical issue. There had to be not even a whiff of conspiracy or holding back of information from any interested party in the publication process.

The challenge for Tibus in delivering this project included:

  • Secrecy – No press, no interested parties, and no hackers; a single PC, full security clearance for the operational team, a new bespoke network built for the project.
  • Immediacy – The report needed to be published at EXACTLY the same time as announced; no run up, no testing in the wild, no soft launch, no leaks.
  • Fairness – All interested parties had to see the report at the same time.  No excuses for slow downloads, no waits and queues; this had to be immediate for every single internet user.
  • Volume – Unprecedented media and general interest was expected. Estimated visitor numbers in planning ranged from 150,000 in a month to 8 million in one day. No excuses, no delays, no site slowness. For context, the Swine Flu, Shipman Inquiry and Hatfield Rail Inquiry websites all collapsed despite assurances from the providers involved.  The Northern Ireland Office was keen to avoid any such occurrence.
  • Scale – With a hard copy of the report costing £495, the web was going to be the only real distribution means for the nearly 5,000 pages of content. This was a huge website to deliver the report online. There was no way to trim it, or to make the code or content lighter.

The solution

Putting the right infrastructure in place was the key to this project.  This high demand was planned for in conjunction with the NIO, and a bespoke technical solution created by Tibus to handle it. The website was coded on a purpose-built secure network in Tibus, and the content stored securely until publication time on a Dedicated Hosting platform in our Belfast Data Centre. The entire infrastructure was audited by security testing specialists SOPRA for IT security, as the timing around publication was critical, and leaks were unthinkable.

When David Cameron was finishing his speech, with the NIO’s signal Tibus pushed the report to a specialist Content Delivery Network (CDN), to deliver the report to The Internet and to those requesting it. The site search was a powerful database server, built by Tibus, hosted in the Cloud, and called from the CDN.


The result was ground breaking and completely successful, and the NIO were delighted with all aspects of Tibus’ delivery on the project. The final report was made live on The Internet by Tibus, following the final instruction by the Northern Ireland Office, at 3:41pm on 15 June, after David Cameron’s address in the House of Commons. From 3.41pm on 15 June to 9:00am on 16 June, there were 2.4 million requests for the report, most on the day of publication; this was unprecedented demand.

The report publication process designed by Tibus has been heralded as ground breaking and extremely successful. The methodology we developed continues to be used as the basis for other similar large-scale report / launch publications to this day. We are proud of our part in helping bring closure to one of Northern Ireland’s most contentious and emotive issues. 

"Tibus were first-class throughout the whole Inquiry publication process. The way we published this report was ground-breaking and indeed set the template for other Inquiries and reports that have followed. A superb supplier for us - technically very strong but also professional in the way they handled the security and sensitivity demands we placed on them."

Gareth Herron, Advisor to the Inquiry