Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have been told to prepare to give evidence in the royal commission into the former Labor government's bungled home insulation scheme.

Fairfax media reports that the former prime ministers, along with five other Labor ministers, have been told to surrender any documents relating to the 2009 Home Insulation Program, which has been blamed for the deaths of four men.

Summonses have reportedly been sent to Mr Rudd, his deputy at the time Ms Gillard, his finance minister Lindsay Tanner, his environment minister Peter Garrett, climate change minister Greg Combet, and the assistant minister charged with co-ordinating government stimulus spending programs, Mark Arbib.

Former treasurer Wayne Swan was contacted by phone.

All seven have been advised they may be called to appear before the inquiry, which is investigating whether the then-government was warned about the scheme, created to inject money into the economy during the global financial crisis.

The commission has been given wide-ranging terms of reference to establish “what really went wrong”.

It will “fill the gaps” of other administrative reviews and coronial inquests, Commissioner Ian Hangar QC says.

 Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney and Marcus Wilson all lost their lives while working on the $2.8 billion “pink batts”

Program established by the Rudd-led government in early 2009.

The men’s families have blamed the program’s rushed rollout and lax standards for the deaths.