The government is actively considering whether to give full legal powers to an independent inquiry investigating the deaths of mental health patients.
Roughly 2,000 deaths at the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) are being examined.
The BBC understands Conservative Health Secretary Stephen Barclay is minded to make the inquiry statutory, which would compel witnesses to come forward.
Only 11 current and former trust staff have agreed to give live evidence.
Melanie Leahy, whose son Matthew died aged 20 while an inpatient at the Linden Centre in Chelmsford, said families were "definitely" a step closer to what they had campaigned for.
"We just need it converted [to a statutory inquiry] - it's just delay after delay after delay and we need those powers," she told BBC Essex.
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Source: BBC News, 3 April 2023