THE first public disclosure of the hidden Hillsborough tragedy files may still be 18 months away.
A panel of eight experts, along with the Bishop of Liverpool, are scrutinising hundreds of thousands of documents about the 1989 disaster.
Initially, it was intended to release some previously unseen papers by the spring of this year.
But that proposal is likely to be reworked with the bulk of the files now being revealed at the end of the two years process, in early 2012.
Last week, the first public indication was given that the new Conservative and Lib-Dem coalition government was firmly behind the long-awaited project.
Suggestions had been raised that the process could be derailed if Labour lost power at May’s General Election.
But the Home Office said the Hillsborough scheme had the full backing of the new administration.
A spokesman said: “The panel has made a good start on the complex and challenging process of releasing the mass of material relating to the Hillsborough disaster that has remained hidden from the public for more than 20 years.
“Positive and productive work is ongoing between the panel members, the families and public partners including South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield City Council.
“But full public disclosure will not happen overnight.
“The panel wants to achieve disclosure as quickly as possible, but is absolutely determined to get the process right.”
Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman from the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: “We are in agreement with one report at the end of the process, so long as the files are looked at fully.
“We trust the panel implicitly to get on with this mammoth task and we will be meeting them on occasions along the way. Hopefully, it won’t take longer than the two years.”