Former Head of Press for Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry team appointed as RBKC’s Director of Communications and Community Engagement

J4G is deeply concerned at the appointment of Michael Clarke to the post of Director of Communications and Community Engagement at RBKC. Immediately prior to this appointment, Mr Clarke was Head of Press for the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry. J4G believes that his appointment to an internal Council post is a classic example of poacher turned gamekeeper and seriously undermines what little credibility the Public Inquiry had with the North Kensington community and other stakeholders. It also raises questions about the much heralded “new” approach to governance at RBKC, moving from the consultation model to a community led model.

This concern is further compounded by his previous role as interim chief media spokesman for First Secretary of State Damian Green and Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. In this role, according to his own Linkedin Profile,

Mr Clarke led a team of press officers covering UK Government transformation programmes including the Government Digital Service, Crown Commercial Service, Government Commercial Function, Government Property Unit, and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

The odds continue to stack up against a robust and meaningful Public Inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bik already faced an uphill challenge as far as convincing survivors, bereaved families, evacuated residents and the wider community that the Inquiry would address their concerns about the Council and TMO. That task has just got a whole lot more difficult.

Letter to Evening Standard re: misleading headline

Dear Doug Wills, Managing Editor, Evening Standard

I am writing to you with regard to an article that appeared in yesterday’s edition of the Standard, headlined “New boss in charge of finding homes for Grenfell Families will earn £100K”.

The article itself is fair and accurate overall, however the juxtaposition of the headline, my photo and the picture caption gives the impression that it is I, a Justice 4 Grenfell Campaign Coordinator, who has landed this highly paid, top job at RBKC. This unfortunate error plays into the hands of those seeking to discredit the Campaign by undermining our individual credibility. It suggests that J4G Coordinators are seeking to profit from the apocalypse that is Grenfell and nothing could be further from the truth. We are volunteers who have worked ceaselessly since the launch of the campaign in June, motivated solely by the over-arching desire to achieve justice for all those affected by the entirely preventable disaster.

J4G welcomes the continuing media interest and commitment to covering the Grenfell disaster, over the last 3 months we have spoken to several reporters from the Standard and wouldn’t want our relationship to be jeopardised by headlines that mislead. Based on this good faith and in the spirit of future collaboration, we would welcome a clarification via the letters page or similar.

I/we look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Sue Caro
Campaign Coordinator, Justice 4 Grenfell

CANCELLED: Met Police questions at City Hall

This event has been cancelled.

The Grenfell Tower fire tragedy is now subject to criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service. (MPS) This represents a real opportunity for the survivors to achieve some level of justice. However, it’s one thing to announce a criminal investigation, another to ensure that prosecutions are being brought, and convictions being achieved.

This important investigation must enjoy the complete confidence of the survivors, those affected by the fire, and the wider public.

There are three key areas of major concern:

  1. Maintaining public confidence
  2. Ensuring the appropriate resources, focus and remit of the inquiry.
  3. Determining the exact number of those thought dead.
  4. The immigration status of potential witnesses
  5. Independent and on-going community scrutiny of the police investigation

The MPS has said there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect both the council and the TMO that managed the tower block of Corporate Manslaughter.

The organisations under suspicion are Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation. Plus 60 odd Grenfell contractors involved in the refurbishment

The law on Corporate Manslaughter requires any prosecution to prove that there was a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed to those who died.

However the 2007 Act does not give MPS the power to arrest any individual from the organisations under suspicion.

Criminal sanctions are negligible. Anyone found guilty is liable to a fine, not imprisonment. A fine would not represent justice for the Grenfell victims and their families. That’s why Gross Negligence Involuntary Manslaughter is a much preferable charge and can result in the guilty doing prison time.

The Mayor is responsible for the MPS. Every month the MPS report to the London Assembly and the Mayor about key issues of crime and public safety in London in order to keep up public pressure in demanding a thorough investigation.

To do that we need to ensure that Londoners attend these monthly meetings and demand the opportunity to ask the Senior Investigations Officer and his team public questions.

Theresa May’s Immigration “Amnesty” Fails to Deliver

J4G has grave concerns that the Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster is being undermined before it has even begun and that this is no accident. Today, 31st August, marks the end of the time granted by the Government under their so-called “Amnesty” for undocumented people impacted by Grenfell to come forward.

Whilst – thanks to the continuing total lack of transparency from the relevant authorities – the Campaign doesn’t know if any undocumented individuals who survived the fire have come forward, we seriously doubt it. The 12-month immigration “amnesty” appears to have been designed to discourage anyone from doing so.

Justice 4 Grenfell share the concerns expressed by many that the work of the Public Inquiry cannot be carried out thoroughly and its recommendations be meaningful without all the available evidence. The evidence of undocumented former residents of the Tower could be critical in establishing what actually happened on the night, why would the Government wish to prevent such evidence from being given?

The Judge chairing the Inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bik, has already indicated in his letter to the Prime Minister that he considers the 12-month period to be insufficient and that survivors will be discouraged from coming forward to give evidence as a result. The Leader of the Opposition has also written to the Prime Minister expressing his reservations about the limited immigration “Amnesty”.

J4G are calling on the Government to both extend the deadline and to grant a lifetime amnesty to anyone who comes forward. To do otherwise merely reinforces the impression that the Government are hoping for a cover up as opposed to a real understanding of all the factors that led up to the disaster that is Grenfell. Now is not the time to be pandering to a racist agenda.

Carnival 2017: A Demonstration of Unity and Strength from the Community

2017’s Carnival officially opened at the end of the beautiful and moving Interfaith Service, dedicated to the victims, survivors, bereaved families and wider community impacted by the Grenfell disaster. The service took place at the Carnival Judging Point on Great Western Road on Sunday morning (August 27th) in front of an invited audience that included Grenfell Tower survivors, the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan and Emma Dent-Coad, MP for Kensington & Chelsea.

Clarrie Mendy, Carnival Ambassador and aunt of fire victim, artist Khadija Say spoke about a united, harmonious and respectful Carnival, honouring the memory of all those who lost their lives or who have suffered as a result of the fire.

The service set the tone for the two days, Carnival goers from far and wide honoured Grenfell in the minute’s silence held at 3 pm on both days, many also dressed in Green for Grenfell. Justice 4 Grenfell Campaign Coordinator, Moyra Samuels joined Ladbroke Grove firefighters for the minute’s silence on Monday.

The love and unity expressed during Carnival, the solidarity and the sorrow, all converged to make 2017’s Carnival a beautiful occasion, celebrating the best of humanity. Noticeably in a change from previous years, not all main-stream media coverage focused on the crime stats, many preferred to concentrate on Carnival’s response to Grenfell.

Justice 4 Grenfell wishes to thank everyone who came to Carnival, all the organisers, bands, troupes, sound systems, performers, vendors for helping to deliver a brilliant 2 days, we celebrated and we mourned. It was perfect, another example of the strength of our community.

Free healing sessions for all affected by Grenfell

At The Village Healing Circle 

Acklam Village, 4-8 Acklam Road, Portobello, W10 5TY

Every day

Drop in for a cup of tea and a chat at 2pm every day. Grenfell residents are welcome to pick up New essentials from the village.

Tuesday 22nd August

3.30pm African Yoga for children with Pablo Imani

4.30pm Creative Writing with Zikko

5.30pm Fashion and Sewing Workshop with Jennifer and Rose

6.00pm Chanting with Nichiren Buddhists

Wednesday 23rd August

4.00pm Overtone Chanting ‘Love your unique sound’

5.30pm Yoga with Donna

Thursday 24th August

1.00pm Painting From Life! with Janet, Allison & Honey

2.00pm Children’s Singing Class with Emzee

3.00pm Creative Writing and Spoken Word Performance Workshop

5.00pm Boxercise with Micah

Friday 25th August

Info on pre-Carnival events coming soon


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.

Music video project

As mentioned we are working with young people aged 11-19 on a music video project  around issues that are important to them and will be bringing them to Harrow Club on Friday to record in the studio at 2pm.  We are hoping  young people from the area will join us to show that young people from all over London can come together to have one voice in a powerful visual statement. We will be filming dance too and have permission/parental consent  forms available for those who want to take part.
The content of the song is being written by youth today, 15th August, and tomorrow, Wednesday 16th August. If anyone wants to join we are meeting at Southwark Lewisham college campus opposite Southwark station  12-4pm Tues-Thurs. We have a pineapple dance tutor creating a routine, vocal coaches and a drama coach and will be creating content for the track.
And please get permission from one of your parents/guardians with this online form

Ghosts of Grenfell

Lowkey, a North Kensington resident affected by the Grenfell disaster, brings the community together to call for justice with his latest release, Ghosts of Grenfell. Many of the local residents, key players in the community generated relief and support efforts, are featured in the accompanying video, demanding to know where are all those friends and neighbours who are still “missing”. Powerful, emotive, apposite.