28 February 2018
Following a number of changes to the way the Grenfell scrutiny committee works, Kensington and Chelsea Council is continuing to look at how the community can have the chance to raise questions and concerns about our services.
Recent meetings at the Notting Hill Methodist Church have shown very clearly that the current approach is not working, and doesn’t provide the best platform or environment for issues to be raised and key questions to be answered.
Following feedback from those that attended the most recent meetings, both the Labour and Conservative members of the Council are proposing instead to hold a drop-in event in North Kensington for people to come and raise their questions with senior staff from the Council, with the elected ward councillors present and providers of other services in response to the Grenfell fire.
The event will be held on Wednesday 21 March from 3 to 8pm at the Museum of Brands on Lancaster Road, W11 1QT. Officers will be on site to answer questions and give one-to-one information on the Grenfell response. Everyone is welcome to come along.
Cllr Robert Atkinson, leader of the Kensington and Chelsea Labour group, said: “It is clear that scrutiny in its current format isn’t working, and residents are not satisfied with passively watching the scrutiny committee question officers and officials. Frustration with the limitations that the normal scrutiny process places on resident’s participation has led to an increasingly hostile environment with what residents see as just more bureaucracy.
“I welcome the changed format which l hope will lead to the council hearing more from the real residents and survivors and we need to look at whether the official scrutiny function can be achieved in a different way in the future. It must not mean that those that shout the loudest drown out those with less confidence but with equally valid views.
“I have been enormously impressed by the dignity and determination of the dozens of residents who have attended all the scrutiny meetings held in the ward and we must find a format which allows all views to be heard.”
Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: “We will continue to listen to the community to see what works and what doesn’t. The Grenfell challenge is unique and we need to be flexible and make sure we have a scrutiny function that does a proper job.
“Transparency and accountability must be in everything we do, and we have to meet the needs of those people who are not getting the services they need. We have also commissioned an independent review of governance which will also be making recommendations about how we can improve scrutiny and we will be considering how to respond to those recommendations in the coming months.”
Cllr Robert Thompson, chair of the Grenfell Scrutiny Committee, said: “It is paramount that we have a forum in which the voices of those individuals and families in the local community who have been directly affected by the Grenfell Tower are heard and responded to in a safe environment.
“I have attempted to ensure that everyone is heard at scrutiny committee meetings, and that the council’s response to Grenfell is accountable and transparent. At this point I believe that by providing time for people to speak to officers and councillors throughout an afternoon and evening will help to achieve this.”
The event will be held on Wednesday 21 March from 3 to 8pm at the Museum of Brands on Lancaster Road, W11 1QT.
Former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk
The council will also organise an additional private drop-in session for former residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk only, so they can raise questions relating to their personal cases – they will be contacted individually with details and dates for this session.