Kensington And Chelsea Council Has Voted To Cut Ties With The Organisation That Managed Grenfell
Cllr Beinazir Lasharie told BuzzFeed News the process of transferring responsibility away from the tenant management organisation would not be quick.
At a council meeting on Wednesday night, Kensington and Chelsea councillors voted in favour of ending the council's contract with the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) – the body that managed Grenfell Tower.
It means that a process can now begin by which the KCTMO can have all of its responsibilities removed. The council's agenda noted: "The position of the KCTMO is no longer tenable," and went on to say: "There is an urgent need to adopt a different, resident-focused model of managing council housing in our borough."
It went on: "In taking this action we note that there must be an orderly and staged closure and transfer of duties to ensure that services to residents and on-going repairs are maintained during the process," and added that "non-senior TMO staff not under investigation as regards the Grenfell disaster are guaranteed all their employment rights during the contract termination".
Cllr Beinazir Lasharie told BuzzFeed News it wouldn't be a quick process. "No one really knows what's going on and everything is a bit up in the air," she said. "There is still a lot of work to do."
The KCTMO manages nearly 10,000 properties for the council. It was heavily criticised by the Grenfell Action Group, a residents group, before the fire broke out. A blog post by the group from 20 November 2016 said: "It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders."
A council spokesperson told BuzzFeed News they had listened to residents across the borough and that changes would be made.
"We are looking at all options for the future management of our housing, and we will work closely with tenants, leaseholders, residents’ associations and other groups to develop and agree a way forward," the spokesperson said.
It comes after Theresa May had a private meeting with survivors and local residents last week where she confirmed that the KCTMO would be stripped of its management responsibilities for the Lancaster West estate, which includes the tower.
In a statement Downing Street said:
The prime minister thanked residents for being open and honest, providing frank feedback on their experiences and the support they were receiving.
She explained that her priority remained giving individuals and families affected by the fire the support they need to rebuild their lives and look to the future with confidence.
The government must do everything it can to help achieve this, including helping to address the challenges residents raised at this meeting.
Earlier in the day, addressing the Labour party conference, Jeremy Corbyn described the Grenfell Tower disaster as "an indictment not just of decades of failed housing policies and privatisation and the yawning inequality in one of the wealthiest boroughs and cities in the world, it is also a damning indictment of a whole outlook which values council tax refunds for the wealthy above decent provision for all and which has contempt for working-class communities."