Inquiry appoints assessors

15 November 2017

Three assessors, each with specific experience and expertise felt to be of value to the Inquiry, have been appointed to assist the Chairman.

The role of assessors includes:

  • taking part in Inquiry proceedings as requested by the Chairman;
  • providing suggested lines of questioning for witnesses to Counsel to the Inquiry; and
  • providing assistance and advice on any other matter relevant to the Inquiry within their area of expertise

Assessors do not give evidence to the Inquiry, nor are they asked questions or cross-examined at the Inquiry.  

Additional assessors may be appointed if the Chairman feels that this is required either for the duration of the Inquiry or for a specific part of the Inquiry.

Further information can be found in the protocol on the role of the assessors.

Details of the three assessors – Joe Montgomery, Joyce Redfearn and Professor David Nethercot – are below.

Joe Montgomery CB

Joe Montgomery has been appointed by the Chairman to assist him in considering issues related to community engagement and the occupation and management of social housing, in particular in relation to the arrangements made by the local authority for receiving and acting on information relevant to the risk of fire at Grenfell Tower.

Joe has more than 30 years’ experience of leading large-scale housing, infrastructure and regeneration programmes, with a particular focus on working with disadvantaged groups in diverse communities. He has held senior roles in the private sector, focusing on property and regeneration as well as an executive career in both central and local government. He has a strong track record of community engagement, in particular being highly involved in encouraging political representation among black and minority ethnic communities.

Joe was the Director General for Places and Communities in the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) where he oversaw the national strategy for neighbourhood renewal, cross-department work to tackle social exclusion and the government’s regional office network. He was responsible for the £9.6 billion Thames Gateway regeneration programme and managed England’s multi-billion pound allocation from the European Regional Development Fund. This included working with local authorities to secure a long-term legacy for east London after the 2012 Olympics.

Joe was formerly on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s advisory panel on area regeneration; the former leader of the government’s Inner City Taskforce in Deptford that targeted help to regenerate urban communities, and was executive director for regeneration at Lewisham Council where his responsibilities included the management and maintenance of social housing as well as building standards. Early in his career, he helped to set up the Parliamentary Black Caucus to provide support for BAME parliamentarians and worked on urban redevelopment in the West Midlands for the Cadbury Trust. Joe was recently was appointed as a Civil Service Commissioner – the Civil Service Commission is independent of the Civil Service and was established by statute to help safeguard Civil Service impartiality by ensuring that recruitment is done on the basis of fairness, merit and open competition.

Joe said:

“Sir Martin Moore-Bick has invited me to put my experience of community-based regeneration, neighbourhood renewal, and housing management and maintenance at the service of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. He has asked me to help ensure that the interests and the participation of those affected by the fire are at the centre of the Inquiry’s way of working. 

“Given the scale of the destruction, the suffering and the loss of life brought about by the fire we are obliged to help ensure that similar occurrences are far less likely in future by laying bare the failings – individual, corporate or systemic – that allowed this tragedy to happen.”

Joyce Redfearn CBE

Joyce Redfearn was appointed by the Chairman to assist him in identifying best practice among local authorities in relation to matters such as the management of finances and the procurement of services relating to the design and construction of residential buildings. She will also assist him in investigating the arrangements made by the local authority and Tenant Management Organisation for receiving and acting on information relevant to the risk of fire at Grenfell Tower, as well as the response of local government in the days immediately following the fire.

Joyce has extensive Chief Executive-level experience in the fields of local government and health. Joyce retired from local government in March 2012 after 17 years as a Local Authority Chief Executive.  Her last seven years were in Wigan where in her final 15 months she was in a shared Chief Executive post with the Ashton Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust. Wigan was a large housing authority managing its stock through an Arms Length Management Organisation.

Joyce led Gloucestershire County Council and took it from a poor to a good Authority including work on good governance and service improvement. She started her Chief Executive career by setting up the new unitary authority of Monmouthshire and worked on engaging more closely with the communities it served.

Joyce has a varied public sector background including, in her early career working as an Equal Opportunities Officer for the Inner London Education Authority and leading on community relations as Assistant Chief Executive in Bolton She currently provides support and leadership development/coaching across local government, health and education. She has worked on governance and community issues and system leadership across the UK and in Jordan and Egypt.

Joyce said:

“Understanding the way in which information was shared and acted upon in relation to the tragedy at Grenfell Tower is vital. My service to local authorities at a national, regional and local level has always been driven by a desire to improve outcomes for citizens, and we owe it to all those whose lives have been lost or blighted – as well as to those who are currently living with concerns – to ensure that we are rigorous in our approach. I look forward to working with Sir Martin and the rest of the Inquiry team to this end.”

Professor David Nethercot OBE, BSc, PhD, DSc, FREng, FIStructE, FICE, FCGI

David has been appointed by the Chairman to assist him in considering technical issues relating to the design and construction of the building and its refurbishment. Professor Nethercot is Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at Imperial College London, where he was formerly Head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and Deputy Principal (Teaching) of the Engineering Faculty. He has more than forty years’ experience of research, specialised advisory work and committee activity in the area of steel and composite construction. Professor Nethercot has also worked at Cardiff, Sheffield and Nottingham Universities.

The author of some four hundred technical papers, Professor Nethercot has supervised more than forty externally-funded research projects, the findings from most of which have informed codes of practice and guidance on the best use of materials in building design and engineering. 

He was awarded a DSc degree in 1993 and elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in that same year. He is a past President of the Institution of Structural Engineers and a former Council Member of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE for services to Structural Engineering, was elected as a foreign member of the Australian and American National Academies of Engineering in 2010 and 2015 respectively.

Professor Nethercot has acted as an expert on the Wembley Stadium roof, the collapse of the Gerrards Cross tunnel and the new Forth Bridge. For ten years Professor Nethercot served as Chairman of the British Standards Institute (BSI) committee responsible for the UK’s Steel Buildings Code as well as input to the Eurocodes. He now chairs the BSI committee with overall responsibility for all Structural Codes. He has provided specialist advice for numerous building and infrastructure projects, including work for the nuclear and defence industries. His roles with steel construction companies have covered design, product development and regulatory issues.

David said:

“Like others, I was deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of life at the Grenfell Tower. I hope that my scientific background and technical objectivity will assist the Inquiry team in its current task and play a part in reducing the possibility of such a tragedy ever occurring again in the future. This is no small undertaking but the importance of the Inquiry’s work cannot be overstated; it is a privilege to be able to contribute to this process.”

Details of the assessors have been added to Key Documents.

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