Latest Public Sector News

14.06.17

Kensington council warned of ‘criminally lax’ safety standards years before Grenfell Tower fire

A fire has ripped through a council building this morning, killing at least six people and destroying the homes of hundreds more.

The Grenfell Tower building, situated in Kensington in West London, is managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) on behalf of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Serious questions have now been raised about the authority after it was revealed that residents had warned council officers on numerous occasions about fire hazards in the building.

Though it is unclear where the fire started, blog posts from the Grenfell Action Group dating back as far as four years ago have repeatedly raised issues with fire safety in the building, and paint a picture of an authority that failed to listen to its residents about the serious risk with the building.

In a blog post in November last year, a resident wrote: “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.”

The blog also labelled KCTMO as an “evil, unprincipled mini-mafia” as it slammed the company and the local authority’s inability to fix clear issues with the building.

A separate post described how people living in the building were advised to stay in their flats in the event of a fire somewhere else in the block and accused the council and its associate’s attitude to fire safety as “criminally lax”.

grenfell tower safety notice

The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has now stated that “there will be a great many questions over the coming days as to the cause of this tragedy”.

“I’m truly devastated to see the horrific scenes of the major fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington,” he said.

He confirmed that a number of people had lost their lives and that more than 50 had been taken to hospital for injuries, with many others still unaccounted for.

In a statement, council leader Cllr Nick Paget Brown said: “This is a terrible day for Kensington and Chelsea and we are doing all we can to support the victims and their families.

“At present all our focus has to be on supporting the rescue and relief operation. But the cause of the fire will need to be fully investigated and we will keep people informed.”

Top Image: Victoria Jones PA Wire

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here

Comments

Margaret Allan   14/06/2017 at 13:26

It is now time for all tower blocks in the uk to be demolished and no flats to be built higher than a house. If you ask any people they want houses and gardens not tower block flats.

Jcairns   15/06/2017 at 13:10

No doubt not a single council official, building inspector, senior fire officer or construction company will be held responsible. Nobody will lose their jobs and no one will go to prison. What a terrible irresponsible country we live in.

Richard Clack   15/06/2017 at 16:02

Where were the fire stops within the cladding structure? which would inhibit spread of flame. A negligent specification?

Barry Creasey   15/06/2017 at 19:44

The quickest way to reassure those people afraid to go back into their tower block is to employ a resident nightwatchman. Why has nobody thought of this???

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

National policies won’t fix local problems

National policies won’t fix local problems

Andrew Carter, the recently-appointed chief executive of Centre for Cities, argues that the new government will only succeed if it focuses on implementing policies that are adaptable to place-based more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Innovation in commissioning services

26/06/2017Innovation in commissioning services

Malcolm Harbour CBE, who wrote Parliament’s first report on innovatio... more >
Engaging the voluntary sector: how to make devolution a success

26/06/2017Engaging the voluntary sector: how to make devolution a success

Paul Winyard, senior policy officer at the National Council for Voluntary O... more >

interviews

HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

26/06/2017HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

Mark Hall, Chief Assurance Officer at Redcentric, discusses NHS Digital&rsq... more >

most read

the raven's daily blog

Councillors celebrated in Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2017

19/06/2017Councillors celebrated in Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2017

A number of local government leaders and figures have been named in the Queen’s 2017 Birthday Honours list. The list recognises the achievements of people across a ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

15/06/2017Challenges remain

As PSE went to press, we were days away from finding out which political party or parties would be leading the country following Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election for 8 June.  Whoever enters the door at No.10, irrelevant of their political colour, is faced with serious challenges, from social care to the NHS, housing to the economy, and, of course, the all-consuming and imminent Brexit negotiations which will have ramifications for generations to... read more >