The independent Grenfell recovery taskforce continues to provide challenge and advice to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) in their response to the tragedy. I recently received their third report, which I am today depositing in the Library of the House and publishing in full at gov.uk.
I am pleased to see that the council has made some important progress since the second taskforce report in March 2018, notably:
The council’s leadership is strongly committed to Grenfell recovery:
Governance changes are beginning to bear fruit;
Many council officers have a good relationship with the people they serve. This is a testament to their humanity, skills and hard work;
There are pockets of innovative practice.
However, the taskforce is clear that pace remains an issue and that it was to be expected that RBKC would have been further forward by this point than it currently is. The taskforce has recommended that the council needs to:
Complete the recovery strategy as soon as possible, so that they have a clear road map to achieving recovery:
Ensure they have the capacity and capability to deliver the recovery strategy, whilst at the same time responding appropriately to the public inquiry and associated media interest:
Carry on with their work to repair and improve relationships with their communities, and get the basics right in how they communicate with them;
Remain focused on their programme of culture change to show that they have learnt the lessons from the Grenfell Tower tragedy:
Prioritise the rehousing effort in order that all those made homeless by the tragedy are resettled in good quality permanent homes as soon as possible.
I have asked the taskforce to continue their work in supporting and challenging the council and providing assurance to me; and to report to me again in spring 2019.