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Grenfell Survivors And Campaigners Want The Inquiry To Focus On The Wider Effects Of The Fire

"It will be a difficult task to overcome the deep mistrust of authority that is felt within the community as a result of being let down by the state," said David Lammy MP in his submission.

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The public inquiry into the causes and effects of the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed the lives of at least 80 people, should fearlessly seek the truth, ensure the local community is involved, and not shy away from the wider fire safety implications, according to survivors, campaigners, and fire safety officials.

Friday marks the end of the public consultation period on the terms of reference of the inquiry, which will determine what the inquiry chair, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, will investigate.

The terms of reference can change during the inquiry, but this process will influence its crucial opening period and the contents of an interim report that is due to be published this year.

Survivors and victims' families have previously expressed concern that they may be excluded from the process and that the inquiry may fail to uncover the truth behind the causes of the fire and who may be responsible. Speaking on the Today programme on Friday, Kensington's Labour MP Emma Dent Coad repeated her assertion that she didn't have total confidence in Moore-Bick.

A spokesperson for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said: “Our residents deserve answers to their questions about the Grenfell Tower fire. The council has not submitted any questions on the inquiry’s terms of reference and will cooperate fully with the public inquiry, whatever the terms of reference include.”

Theresa May is expected to agree the terms of reference by the middle of August. But until then, here's what various groups' submissions have said:

The campaign group Justice4Grenfell (J4G) has called for an ethnically diverse advisory panel to counter the "unrepresentative and non-diverse makeup" of the inquiry team that's already been announced.

The group said Moore-Bick's background, particularly a judgment he gave in the Court of Appeal that backed Westminster council's decision to move a social housing tenant 50 miles away, showed he had not won the confidence of the community.

Its submission said: "Victims and survivors must be placed at the heart of this inquiry so that all findings and recommendations are grounded in the experiences and accounts of those victims and survivors.

"The inquiry should not have a focus solely on the traditional legal ‘facts and judgment’ process. Instead, it should carefully consider the emotional needs of all the key stakeholders, particularly the survivors and bereaved families."

In common with several other submissions, J4G said the inquiry should seek to investigate the role not just of Kensington and Chelsea council and its tenant management organisation but of national government.


Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, who lost a close friend in the Grenfell fire, wrote to Moore-Bick last week urging him to appoint a panel of locals and survivors and carry out a two-stage inquiry that investigates both the causes of Grenfell and what its lasting legacy should be on national policies.

Lammy said the inquiry should cover:

• Why residents' concerns and complaints about fire safety at Grenfell were "ignored" and how this "contributed to the loss of life".

• The policies and priorities of Kensington and Chelsea on social housing refurbishment and how this impacted on the type of materials used, including external cladding.

• The support and advice given to survivors and affected locals in the wake of the fire.

"It will be a difficult task to overcome the deep mistrust of authority that is felt within the community as a result of being let down by the state and it is incumbent on the inquiry to convince the survivors and the Grenfell families that their voice will be heard," he wrote.

The London borough of Hackney made a long list of suggestions and requests in its submission to the consultation, calling for the inquiry to be carried out with "transparency, accountability and rigour".

The council said it expected that Grenfell tenants would have fully funded representation, that ministers would give evidence in public, and that independent academics and experts' advice would be sought to counter the views of industry regulators and professionals.

In terms of what should be covered, Hackney said the inquiry should focus on:

• The role of ministerial leadership and why previous recommendations on fire safety were not acted upon, including those made after the 2009 Lakanal House fire in Southwark.

• The wider regulatory process and the impact of the privatisation of the Building Research Establishment, which has been carrying out government-commissioned tests on building materials since the Grenfell fire.

• What impact a deregulated market approach to building safety has had.

• And the role of arm's-length tenant management organisations (such as the one that managed Grenfell Tower) regarding accountability to tenants.

The body that represents all fire and rescue services in the UK urged the inquiry chair to:

• Examine the relationship between developers and the "responsible person" who is in charge of each individual building, and how they share fire safety information and look at how buildings are currently signed off as safe by fire inspectors.

• Examine the competency standards for fire risk assessors "and those who call themselves 'fire engineers'".

• Consider the clarity of the "stay put" guidance that is still in place for social housing tenants in tall towers in England and ask whether landlords' roles and responsibilities need to change.

• Provide guidance this year in its interim report on whether current building regulations are fit for purpose or not.

Inquest, a charity that provides support and advice to the families seeking to uncover the truth of contentious deaths, said in its submission that the inquiry must have an emotional element and "address the pain, trauma and individual and community damage caused by the tragedy and the lack of public trust and confidence in the state institutions involved".

Inquest said the inquiry should investigate to what extent the human rights of the Grenfell residents to live in adequate and safe housing were considered before the fire, and the action taken by local and central government in response to warnings made after similar housing block tower fires.

The FBU said that as well as the causes of the fire, the inquiry should consider the capacity of fire services to cope with fires of such a large scale, and the ways fire services have been undermined through cuts that have seen 11,000 firefighter jobs lost since 2010.

In its submission, the union noted that it wasn't just the London Fire Brigade that attended Grenfell – Kent and Surrey sent crews as well – meaning that a wider debate about regional fire-fighting capacity is needed, particularly in relation to other UK cities.

"The London Fire Brigade is the largest fire and rescue service in England and the FBU does not believe the same level of resources are currently available to tackle a similar tower block fire in other parts of the UK," the union said.

RIBA wants to see an examination of the management and oversight of Grenfell's refurbishment process: how things like lighting, fire alarms, and doors were managed in the building, as well as a full review of the current fire regulations.

The body said the terms of inquiry must be broad and focus not just on the blaze itself but the entire construction process of buildings in the UK.

Addressing a theme that is sure to dominate large parts of the inquiry, RIBA said it should question the validity of fire safety test data that isn't based on real-world large-scale tests of external building materials, and how such materials are declared safe and compliant.

RIBA also suggested a long list of practical questions to ask those responsible for Grenfell's refurbishment, including ones regarding the quality of the original brief, the procurement model, and the number of visits to the site by regulatory bodies.

Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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