J4G’s response to the Terms of Reference publication

Justice4Grenfell Campaign notes the publication today of the recommended terms of reference for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the response of the Prime Minister Theresa May.

Judge Moore Bick had stated previously that the remit of the Inquiry would be narrow and that he felt it would not satisfy the demands of survivors or residents and the local community. We therefore welcome the fact that the inquiry has been broadened to examine such issues as “the response of central and local government in the days immediately following the fire”, however we remain of the opinion that the remit does not go far enough and that Kensington and Chelsea Council are not specifically named, when they are clearly culpable.

We believe that from the start of the process of announcing and setting up the terms of reference of the Inquiry, that the greatest consideration should have been given to the broadest remit possible to ensure all aspects of this avoidable disaster could be examined and lessons learnt to ensure such a disaster never occurs again. The broadening of the Inquiry terms of reference has only been announced following a massive amount of public pressure and this reflects the importance of the community never remaining silent and ensuring that their voices are heard.

J4G make the following comments:

  • It is disappointing that the question of social housing especially social cleansing/gentrification will not be addressed in the Inquiry as this remains a critical issue not just for the community of North Kensington but across the country and goes to the heart of a changing ideological approach to social housing and the pursuit of profit rather than provision of safe, affordable, appropriate and adequate housing
  • The Inquiry must have the ability and power to make recommendations regarding compliance in relation to a range of regulations; should this not be possible under the recommended terms of reference, then they will need to be broadened as the Inquiry unfolds, this will ensure that perfunctory answers are not given and that critical issues as they arise are addressed appropriately
  • Community Advisors should be identified and contacted as soon as possible to be included on the Inquiry panel from the start of the Inquiry.
  • The role of Dame Judith Hackett as chair of the Independent review is untenable given the building standards that are being challenged are those that she endorsed, such a major conflict of interest requires nothing less than her removal from the role
  • Undocumented survivors must be granted a life time amnesty as they are not likely to participate in the Inquiry and their crucial evidence may not be included if they are only given a 12 month amnesty

The Government has the power and opportunity to ensure this Inquiry is meaningful, transparent and robust and that some justice is provided for the victims, survivors and their families, and the local community. In order for this to happen the Government must listen to and involve local community advisors. This will be the litmus test for community trust and confidence in the Inquiry process.