The Inquiry has published an update on its work.
This update provides a digest of:
- Decision to resume with limited attendance hearings
- Disclosure figures
- Contact information
- Drop-in sessions
Decision to resume with limited attendance hearings
In April, the Inquiry wrote to core participants inviting their views on how best to resume hearings. The following three options were put forward for consideration:
- Option 1: Suspend hearings until social restrictions have been lifted completely
- Option 2: Conduct hearings remotely via a video conferencing platform
- Options 3: Resume hearings with limited attendance when social restrictions are partially lifted
The Panel is grateful to have received no fewer than 67 responses to the letter, which indicated a substantial consensus in favour of limited attendance hearings, with no alternative options from those above suggested.
Having considered carefully the responses to the consultation letter the Panel has come to the clear conclusion that Option 3 presents the best way in which the Inquiry can pursue its important work with the necessary urgency.
The Inquiry is therefore now developing a detailed plan for implementing this option, which enables hearings to be conducted at 13 Bishop’s Bridge Road safely and in accordance with government guidance. The primary consideration in these preparations will be to protect the physical safety and mental wellbeing of all those involved while getting the Inquiry’s programme for taking evidence back on track as soon as possible.
As part of the consultation, the Inquiry also invited views from colleagues in its counselling support services. The physical safety and mental wellbeing of all those involved will be the primary consideration in resuming hearings and, as such, in-person counselling support will continue to be available for witnesses. The Inquiry has been working closely with the NHS to ensure they will be in a position to provide this support when hearings resume, and Hestia has confirmed that they will continue to provide counselling support for those following the hearings remotely.
The Panel cannot yet make any firm prediction about when it will be possible to implement limited attendance hearings as this is dependent on when and how government restrictions are lifted and public health considerations generally. The earliest the Panel considers it will be possible to resume hearings is July, as it is likely to take up to a month to reorganise the Inquiry’s premises in an appropriate way and to reschedule the witnesses for Module 1.
Ruling on translation of the Phase 1 report
The Chairman has received applications from the recognised legal representatives of a group of bereaved, survivor and resident core participants for an award of funding for the translation of the full Phase 1 report into their clients’ various first languages. The Chairman has reached the conclusion that the existing 17 language translations of the summary document, which contains the Executive Summary, Recommendations and Look Ahead to Phase 2 chapters from the full report, are sufficient in ensuring that all core participants can read and understand the core substance of the report. The summary document includes the Chairman’s conclusions about the cause and development of the fire, its escape into the cladding, the loss of compartmentation, the failure of the external walls to comply with the Building Regulations, the spread of the fire to the whole of the building, the conduct of the London Fire Brigade on the incident ground and in the control room, and the response of the other emergency services.
The full ruling can be found here.
As at 15 May 2020, the Inquiry has disclosed 20,752 documents in Phase 1, and 144,425 in Phase 2, coming to a total of 165,177.
The Inquiry’s work on other Phase 2 modules continues while hearings are suspended. In line with social restrictions, all Inquiry team members are working remotely to ensure operations continue, but can still be contacted on 0800 121 4282 or by emailing [email protected]
Support services continue to be in place. If you need to talk about anything to do with your emotional wellbeing, the NHS website has further information at www.grenfellwellbeing.com.
The Grenfell Outreach Team is open Monday to Thursday from 09:00-20:00, and their number is 0208 637 6279. They also offer a weekend and out of hours service. More information can be found on the NHS website.
To protect both the community and the wider public from the spread of COVID-19, the Inquiry will not be holding drop-ins until guidance indicates that it is safe to do so. Anyone who wishes to contact the Inquiry in the meantime can do so through the routes detailed above.
The drop-in session for May has been cancelled in line with current guidelines around public gatherings. Please email [email protected] if you wish to speak to a member of the Inquiry team.