Becoming the Best Council
Kensington and Chelsea will always be inextricably linked with the Grenfell tragedy, which has forever marked the borough, our communities, and the Council. Our commitment is to ensure it is never forgotten and to play our part in ensuring nothing like it happens again. We will continue to work with our partners to provide dedicated support to bereaved and survivors and those most affected in the local community, mindful of the important milestones to come, including the conclusion of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, decisions about the site and the memorial and the ongoing fight for justice.
Bereaved families, survivors, and residents have challenged the Council to use the learning from the tragedy to change for the better, becoming the best Council for all our residents, whether they were directly affected by Grenfell or not. In accepting this challenge, the Council is clear that there is a long way to go, and we will work with our communities to define what this means and check on our progress.
In 2022, we have heard from over 1000 bereaved, survivors and residents across the borough about what being the best Council in light of Grenfell means to them. People have told us what they love about the borough and what is important to them. The commitments in this plan reflect what we have heard about what people value, from our parks, public spaces, high streets, heritage, to open communities, and opportunities. But a strong theme running through the feedback has been about how people want the Council to change. Often this is as much about how the Council interacts with our communities as about what we do.
Specifically, people have told us they want the Council to:
- Listen to residents, properly understand the issues they are raising and act on what they say, always prioritising their health and safety.
- Involve residents in shaping our services and making decisions about them, recognising that they know their communities better than anyone else.
- Communicate clearly with residents, making sure that when they contact the Council, we will grip the issue and not pass them from one team to another.
- Treat all residents with respect and dignity, regardless of their background.
Through the Grenfell Legacy Consultation we have heard that:
Since Grenfell the Council has changed many of its practices, its policies, and its approach, seeking to put communities first, engage with people in new ways, and make sure that the lessons of Grenfell are at the forefront of our drive for change. But this is a journey, and we know there is more to do to bridge the gap between the Council and its communities and to show our residents how we have learnt from the Grenfell tragedy. The feedback has revealed the scale of the challenge we face, while 44 per cent of people who responded to our Grenfell legacy survey feel there has been some change since Grenfell, 56 per cent feel that the Council hasn’t changed.
This plan sets out how we will meet this challenge and how the organisation will address the issues raised above, particularly around listening, safety, making it easier to access services and talk to the Council, and housing. The lessons from Grenfell are at the heart of the broader vision for a greener, safer, fairer borough and are threaded through the whole document.
Given the scale and importance of the challenge to build a meaningful legacy from Grenfell, we will be developing a more detailed action plan alongside the Council Plan which will have more detail on the changes we are making in light of Grenfell. This plan will be developed with residents through 2023.
The lessons from Grenfell are at the heart of the Council Plan.