A letter from the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council – Grenfell Tower Inquiry phase one report

The publication of the phase one report by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry will be an incredibly difficult time for our residents, especially for the survivors, the bereaved and people from the surrounding community.

I have not yet seen the report but, from what I observed at the hearings, it will contain strong messages and clear lessons for all public authorities.

And these lessons, rightly, will not be limited to just the London Fire Brigade.

I want to reiterate that we are truly sorry for what those families had to endure. We hope the Inquiry will deliver the truth for them, that lessons are learned, and a tragedy like this never happens again.

In Phase Two we know that the actions and decisions of those serving the Council prior to 14 June 2017 will be under intense scrutiny.

We welcome this, and we hope those giving evidence over the coming months accept it and understand where their duty lies.

Whatever your point of view, your role, or the organisation you represent or work for, Grenfell is a tragedy that should not have happened. It is a tragedy that can never happen again.

In our organisation, we believe our duty is to the truth. Whatever it takes and whatever the consequences for Kensington and Chelsea Council.

I want to assure residents, that as the Inquiry progresses, we will not stand still. We will be hard at work. Continuing to help support the survivors and bereaved families, making sure our efforts do not stop at the front door of their new homes.

We are also continuing to make wider changes.

The Council took back control of its social housing last year, and we have started a £300m borough-wide refurbishment programme. This includes the installation of new fire doors, and ongoing reviews of fire safety measures, such as lifts, windows, balconies, sprinklers and external construction materials.

We have made our changes in line with Government guidance, clear fire safety advice, and we will keep track of changes to guidance from emerging recommendations from the Inquiry.

We will continue to place greater emphasis on consultation and co-design, listening to residents and working with them to solve issues and create opportunities that benefit them, and we will invest £200m in building homes, including new social housing.

We have learned a great deal in the last two years from the people in the communities that we serve and especially from the bereaved and survivors themselves. They have, at all times, acted with great dignity.

I hope our new values at the Council, radical changes to the way we work, and higher standards – especially in our own housing – will be part of a lasting national legacy in terms of changes to housing policy, building regulations and stronger relationships between Councils and their tenants.

Cllr Elizabeth Campbell

Leader, Kensington and Chelsea Council