Monday, 3 July 2017

Tower inferno: a litany of avoidable errors- the importance of being wise before the event

In political discussion television progammes over the weekend immediately following the Grenfell tower fire disaster, former Conservative housing minister Bob Neill appeared on the London section of the BBC’s Sunday Politics distancing himself from the horror of the towering inferno that engulfed Grenfell Tower on west London’s Lancaster estate - because the fire safety regulations now under question came after he left that job.

But six years ago that weekend he did a have some pertinent words to say at a fire safety conference. I doubt he will be proud of them today.


Bob Neill

He opened with a platitude asserting: “Ensuring an acceptable level of fire safety in all residential premises is clearly a matter of great concern to us all. I am therefore delighted to see that both the housing and fire sector have come together to arrange this important seminar, and that we have good representation from both sectors.

As you will be aware from today’s discussions, there is a significant amount of positive work going on in the housing and fire sector to help protect people from fire.”

Under a section  titled “Better regulation” – more properly described as “bigger cuts” - he argued “We believe the current legislative framework strikes the right balance in terms of affording an appropriate level of protection to residents in the wide range of buildings in which they live. Landlords, building owners and others with responsibilities for ensuring the safety of multi-occupied residential buildings have clear responsibilities for minimising fire risks under both the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which applies to common parts.

We believe that good regulation - that which is well designed, proportionate and ensures that proper standards are in place to deliver public assurance over safety - is a good thing. We will not unnecessarily seek to remove it, where it has a clear justification.

Of course, good regulation serves to protect us all: consumers, employees and the environment. It helps build a fair society and can even save lives. But over the years, regulations - and the inspections and bureaucracy that go with them - have piled up and up. This has hurt business, imposing real burdens and doing real damage to our economy.

Reducing the number of rules and regulations is therefore absolutely central to the Government’s vision for Britain, removing barriers to economic growth and increasing individual freedoms. We have given a clear commitment that where regulation cannot be justified, we will remove it. With more than 21,000 regulations impacting on businesses and others in the UK today, this won’t be an easy task - but we’re determined to cut unnecessary red tape.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is a good example of where we believe real success has already been delivered. Before 2006, there were over 70 fire safety-related Acts of Parliament and numerous statutory instruments in place, many of which overlapped. This set those with fire safety responsibilities on a confusing and burdensome path to identify and deliver their statutory responsibilities for protecting the public.

Following the Order’s introduction, all those with responsibilities for the safety of their premises now have a clear legislative framework, based on the well-established principles of risk assessment and proportionality, in which to operate.”


He ended saying: “We are now embarking on work with the fire sector to develop a new National Framework, which will re-set the relationship between fire and rescue authorities and central government. We will help ‘barrier bust’ where fire and rescue authorities find unnecessary restrictions are stopping them from getting on with things that clearly make great sense.

In 2007, the Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACoRS as was), the Chief Fire Officers Association and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Officers came together to develop guidance for landlords and fire safety enforcement officers, in both local housing authorities and fire and rescue services, on how to ensure fire safety in certain types of residential accommodation. Its aim was to provide landlords and enforcing authorities with assistance in complying with the legislative requirements in a consistent and reasonable manner.

Whilst well-received and used by housing providers and enforcement authorities, the sectors agreed that this guidance document was not well positioned to meet the needs of those with fire safety obligations for purpose built blocks of flats, including high rise. The sector agreed that additional fire safety guidance would be helpful to focus on the particular circumstances and challenges presented by blocks of flats, irrespective of height.

We listened carefully to the concerns of the sector on this. In recognition of their significance, we have provided grant to Local Government Improvement and Development - part of the Local Government Group - to develop and own, on behalf of the sector, practical and proportionate fire safety guidance primarily for the landlords, risk assessors and enforcing authorities of purpose built blocks of flats across all housing sectors.

This is superb example of the sector coming together to address the challenges that they face in practical terms, and the Department has been pleased, in this instance, to support the project. We also value the contribution being made by the Electrical Safety Council, who are also funding this work.”

No need for extra burdensome sprinklers and some alarms, minister claims

He then ended inexplicably arguing: “I am aware that some of you here today have supported calls for more regulation for fire safety in the home and in non-domestic buildings, particularly in relation to smoke alarms and sprinklers. As I have explained, we have absolutely no plans to add to the burden of regulation for businesses and others, especially where non-regulatory routes can offer the same - or better - outcomes.(my emphasis)

 (“Housing sector national forum: meeting the requirements of fire safety legislation,” 16 June 2011;

A year earlier, current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, then an experienced  London backbench MP, spoke in a Parliamentary debate on social housing in inner London

He stressed that “Resources have to be put in consistently, over the long term. I shall concentrate on issues of social housing need—the need for a better supply of housing. I recall a time when ..the Member for Edmonton (Andrew Love) and I were active in politics in Haringey. We were both councillors at various times and in the late 1970s we could say proudly that we would never again put children in high-rise properties, that all the new properties we built would be houses with gardens, and that we would attempt to create decent community neighbourhoods. There are some wonderful examples of municipal development by Haringey, Camden, Hackney and Islington in that period, which was a high point for housing, with a Labour Government providing sufficient resources and local authorities with the imagination to develop new estates.”

I congratulate the Government on the money that they have put in to estate improvements, including new roofs, new windows and new landscaping. However, the market created the housing crisis that the poorest people of London and the south-east face at present. The market will not solve that crisis. It will be solved only by sufficient public investment in new housing for build. The Government should not tell those living in overcrowded, badly run, dilapidated estates that the only way to improve their housing stock is to transfer to a registered social landlord who will be allowed to build dozens, if not hundreds, of properties to sell on the remaining bits of open land on those estates. Working-class communities which suffered 18 years of cuts and abuse under the Tories deserve better than that from a Labour Government, so I hope that the Minister will understand the strong feelings that arise when there are votes on housing transfer or, as occurred in Camden recently, on transfer to an arm's-length management organisation.

It was a presciently sad warning.

If we fast forward to 11 May last year, we can see from the minutes of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee consideration of a report on the Grenfell tower by the borough’s director of Housing

It stated” The purpose of this report is to provide the Housing Property and Scrutiny Committee with information and recommendations from the Board Member review of the Grenfell Tower regeneration project…”  and one conclusion  stated”


“3.1 The Group recognised that there were significant challenges with the project and acknowledged that residents would have experienced inconvenience due to the nature of this type of construction work.”


Colouring  public views of tower blocks


Three years earlier, on 16 July 2013, the same housing scri utiny committee considered a report on:



Under a section headed  ‘Planning Issues’ the report recorded:


4.1 In August 2012, a planning application was submitted for the refurbishment proposals to Grenfell Tower. Planners considered this application in November 2012 and have asked for a resubmission including the following amendments:

 Removal of the canopy at 1st floor level

 Give further definition to the roof detailing

Consider alternative colour schemes.


4.2 The Grenfell Design Team has been developing a revised and updated design ahead of a revised planning submission.

And under ‘Procurement’ they recorded:

“Since January, the design team has been working with Leadbitter (the proposed contractor) to bring the scheme within budget and to ensure that the project will deliver value for money. Progress has been slow and Leadbitter currently estimate the cost of works to be £11.278m (inclusive of fees), which is £1.6m above the current, proposed budget.



Under the headine ‘Resident Engagement’ the minutes recorded”

6.1 Resident engagement in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower has been reviewed and actions agreed to ensure that all residents have clear information about the current status of the scheme and are clear about how they can influence the proposals”.



And  concluded:

“The refurbishment of Grenfell Tower is a large and complex project and time and careful planning has been required to ensure that the proposals and design of the scheme meet the requirements of residents, RBKC and Planners. Particular focus has been required to ensure that the project representing value for money.”

That is, external appearance and cost cutting were prioritized.


A few months later, on 24 November 2016, a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation TMO  (KCTMO) that owns and manages the Grenfell Tower,  reported a  Health and Safety (Update 13) on its residential tower blocks


Grenfell Tower refurbishment – close liaison with LFB [London Fire Brigade] and Fire Risk Assessor throughout the duration of the project. At the conclusion of the work some of the operational firefighters from the local Fire Station attended an onsite

briefing where the contractor demonstrated the fire safety features of the


There is ongoing work with LFB to ensure remaining high rise blocks are

prioritised for familiarisation visits and where possible Home Fire Safety Visits

are offered.

We have provided a range of ongoing publicity to residents, particularly in

relation to:

the “stay put” fire strategy and procedures residents should follow in

event of a fire in their flat or elsewhere in their block, and;

informing leaseholders about the fire safety standards required of their

flat entrance doors (existing and any planned replacement)

Further progress has been made with the installation programme of hard-wired

automatic smoke alarms in tenanted dwellings.

Currently preparing bids for submission to the LFB for funding from their

Community Safety Initiative. The aim of this fund is to target those most

vulnerable to fire and identify effective strategies for reducing this risk.


These words must be re-read with numbness now by the borough’s housing  officials

London Assembly report warned of disaster to come
In December 2010, the capital  city-wide London Assembly ‘s Planning and Housing Committee released shamingly prescient report on Fire risks in London's tall and timber framed buildings’ (
It covered:

·         Building design and materials - the building regulations;

·         Fire risks during construction

·         Fire risks in occupied buildings

·         Raising awareness - fire safety information for tenants


In the report’s forward, the committee chair, Labour’s Nicky Gavron  and her deputy, the Green Party’s Jenny Jones wrote: “ Since 1666 it has been recognised that London presents some very specific challenges for building and fire regulation - and this remains true today. Two pressing challenges are the increasing concentration of high rise residential buildings in the capital, and the growing trend for timber frame construction.

As London's population continues to grow and we look to preserve London's green spaces we are going to see a lot more people living at heights - already more than half a million Londoners live in tall buildings. The drive to use more low carbon construction materials will also shape London's housing mix as it results almost inevitably in more timber framed buildings. As we build at higher densities and with more environmentally friendly materials it is vital to current and future residents that we get fire safety absolutely right.”

Perhaps the most worrying finding of the committee was the following: ”Legislation now requires the owners of buildings or ‚the Responsible Person‛ to undertake regularly reviewed risk assessments of their buildings or to employ a competent person to do so.

The Committee has seen worrying evidence that many of these risk assessments fall below the standards required; that many staff are insufficiently trained to carry out risk assessments; and that the advice and guidance given to staff is too complex. It is unacceptable that one in five risk assessments in London are inadequate. There must be mandatory minimum standards of competence for training and accrediting fire risk assessors and this should be a legal requirement to comply with the relevant fire safety regulations”.(my emphasis)

The report’s Executive summary stressed:

This inquiry was commissioned specifically to look into issues around fire safety in London’s residential buildings, with a particular focus on timber frame structures and tall buildings, and to make recommendations to the Mayor of London and to Her Majesty's Government with regard to building regulations.

London’s tall and timber framed residential buildings present very different issues in terms of fire safety and the potential impacts on lives and property but they are considered together in this report because these two types of buildings are set to increase in the capital.

Policy priorities demanding more new homes at higher densities and the use of sustainable materials are driving an increase in the number of tall and timber framed residential buildings in London, making improving fire safety in these types of buildings critical.

Tall residential buildings are the home for more than 527,000 Londoners. Fires at the highest levels are relatively rare but when fires occur in them they are very dangerous. The biggest risk in the event of fire is the inability for occupants to escape and evacuate the building. These risks increase significantly as buildings get higher.”

The section  sub-headed  ‘Identifying fire risks in tall and timber framed buildings’  reported:

“All buildings have inherent strengths and weaknesses and, whatever their construction method, are at risk from fire. This report focuses on those two types of construction that seem to present the greatest threat to Londoners in terms of scale and impact of any fire ” tall residential buildings and those based on structural timber frames.

However, when fires occur in occupied tall buildings they are potentially very dangerous and the biggest risk in the event of fire is the inability for occupants to escape and evacuate the building. Tower blocks have largely been built with the concept of ‚stay in place‛ protection. It is usual that only the occupants directly involved in the flat where the fire occurs will need to escape. The remainder of the occupants should be safe to stay in their premises unless evacuated by the fire service if the fire spreads.”

Legislation and application to the building process

1.24 There is a significant body of relevant legislation that applies to residential buildings ” including building design and materials, construction methods, and post occupation risk assessment.

It worryingly points out “Over time there has been a moving away from prescriptive regulation to functional requirements with non-mandatory guidance issued by DCLG and its predecessors.”

Under the heading ‘Building design and materials - the building’ it stated:


“Over the last 40 years previous building standards and regulations reviewed, updated and incorporated into the Approved Documents to the Building Regulations. These Approved Documents offer practical guidance on ways to comply with the functional requirements in the Building Regulations. In terms of fire safety, the Regulations and guidance documents set out the minimum period of fire resistance for different parts of a building.

It stresses: “There is a view among some in the construction industry and the fire services that the Approved Documents are not keeping pace with innovation in the construction industry and, when they are amended, the changes tend to be reactive and not wide ranging enough” (emphasis added)


 Under the sub-headline ‘Fire risks in occupied buildings’ it stresses:



The management of fire risk in occupied residential buildings is governed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (Fire Safety Order) and the Housing Acts 1985 and 2004.

4.2 When the Fire Safety Order came into effect in 2006 it applied to over 600,000 premises in London. It rationalised over 90 pieces of fire safety legislation and gave responsibilities for fire prevention and protection measures to the ‚Responsible Person‛ who normally is the employer or owner in control of a building. The Responsible Person is required to undertake regularly reviewed risk assessments of their buildings or to employ a competent person to do so. Fire Authorities retain the legal ability and duty to audit buildings to check compliance with the regulations and are responsible for the enforcement of these preventative and protective measures.

4.3 The Housing Acts 1985 and 2004 apply regulation and control to residential property, including high rise blocks. These Acts make housing authorities specifically responsible for keeping the condition of all housing in their area, including their own housing stock, under review and for checking all aspects of health and safety, including fire safety.

Fire risk assessments

4.5 Risk assessments are now the cornerstone of managing fire safety. A fire risk assessment is an organised and methodical look at a building, the activities carried out there and the likelihood that a fire could start and cause harm to those in and around the building. It places direct significance on the introduction of preventative measures and protective measures to deal with remaining risk to protect people from death or injury in the event of fire38.


4.6 The Committee has heard evidence that many of these risk assessments are inadequate. The Committee supports the view of the Chief Fire Officers Association that there are an excessive number of poor quality risk assessments being done by Responsible Persons or consultants that they engage, which fall significantly short of confirming whether buildings and their subsequent refurbishment works are protected from fire39.

4.7 In 2006 (the first year of operation of the Fire Safety Order) the London Fire Brigade completed around 10,000 inspections. About 40 per cent to 50 per cent of fire risk assessments were deficient in some aspect. (emphasis added) According to the London Fire Brigade the situation is improving but in 2009 of the 15,000 inspections undertaken across a range of categories of building approximately 18 per cent to 20 per cent of risk assessments were still found to be in need of some remedial action40.

4.8 After the Lakanal House fire it was reported that one leading residential management services company undertook an inspection of 500 tall buildings across London and the south east and found 12 per cent of apartment blocks contained serious fire hazards (emphasis added)

In the past year the Fire Brigade and Tenant Services Authority have found it necessary to remind landlords of their responsibilities over this matter and the BBC reported that its investigation uncovered at least 300 high-rises in London that had no valid risk assessment from the landlord.

4.9 It is of concern to Committee Members that there is evidence of the absence of appropriate fire safety measures, and this cannot be right.


Risk assessors deficient


4.10 The Committee has heard that many staff are insufficiently trained to carry out risk assessments; that the advice and guidance given to staff is too complex; there is confusion over what constitutes a sufficient risk assessment; and there is ambiguity around the definitions of competent and qualified persons who are expected to carry out risk assessments. Unsurprisingly there are calls to have a defined standard of competency for people undertaking risk assessments and a register that assures quality.




It concluded,  emphasising :

1.22 Fire risks increase significantly as buildings get higher. This is reflected in the design requirements related to fire-fighting that must be observed for tall buildings such as protected staircases, fire fighting shafts and fire suppression systems (e.g. sprinklers) to allow fire fighters to quickly access the fire source.

1.23 A further risk highlighted to the Committee concerns the risk from inappropriate modifications that may compromise certain fire safety features that are designed to reduce the spread of fire.


Local Government Association issued stark warning


Sixteen months after the London Assembly report, the national Local Government Association, publishe d  its own report – but actually commissioned by Government- on ‘Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of  flats.’ In a media release dated 1st May 2012, the report noted “Following the Lakanal House fire inquest, the Coroner produced a number of recommendations which are being addressed by the Fire Sector, Local authorities and Government. We have consulted Government and other partners on the implications of the recommendations for this guidance and they are satisfied that the guidance remains appropriate

 A section headed ‘External fire-spread’ stated boldly:


“72.1 The external façades of blocks of flats should not provide potential for extensive firespread. When assessing existing blocks of flats, particular attention should be given to any rainscreen or other external cladding system that has been applied and to façades that have been replaced.

72.2 The use of combustible cladding materials and extensive cavities can present a risk, particularly in high-rise blocks. Restrictions are normally applied to the nature of such materials and in particular their surface spread of flame characteristics. Cavity barriers are also required in some circumstances. Assistance from specialists may be required to determine if the external surfaces of walls are satisfactory and whether there is adequate provision of cavity barriers.


MPs warning decade earlier

Yet almost 13 years earlier, the House of Commons Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs issued a very strong report highlighting  their concerns over the fire risk from external cladding on high rise  apartment blocks. The report explained

-  whether a risk is posed by such cladding;
-  the extent of the use of external cladding systems;
-  the adequacy of the regulations pertaining to their use;
-  what action may be necessary to counter any risks posed in existing buildings and to avoid any risks in new buildings or alterations to existing buildings;
-  other matters which may arise in the course of questioning.”
The report noted the Committee had “ received 18 written memoranda, and received 28 replies to a letter which we sent to the housing departments of all metropolitan borough councils to try to assess the extent of any risk which might be posed by the use of such systems.. and  also took oral evidence from seven sets of witnesses.”
Under the sub-heading “ Regulations pertaining to the fire safety of external cladding systems” the committee explained “. In England and Waleswhere new buildings are erected, or existing buildings are materially altered, or (in certain cases) where there is a material change of use, the work is required to comply with the Building Regulations 1991. Schedule 1 of the Regulations contains the functional requirements: the section relevant to cladding systems is Requirement B(4), which states:
'The external walls of the building shall resist the spread of fire over the walls and from one building to another, having regard to the height, use and position of the building.'
Guidance on how to comply with the Regulations is given in Approved Document B (fire safety). This document provides guidance only: contractors are not required to follow its requirements provided that they can prove to the satisfaction of the local authority building standards officer that they have met the requirement of the Building Regulations in some other way. The guidance relevant to cladding systems includes the following:
(a)  Any insulation material used in cladding on buildings over 20 metres tall should be of 'limited combustibility';
(b)  External surfaces (and hence cladding) closer than 1 metre to another building should be of a material classified as 'Class O' for spread of fire, to reduce the risk of fire spread to neighbouring buildings;
(c)  External surfaces (and hence cladding) more than 20 metres from ground level should be 'Class O', to reduce the risk of fire at heights which are difficult to reach from firefighting operations on the ground;
(d)  Where there is a gap between the cladding and the wall of the building, the provisions of (b) and (c) above also apply to the inside face of the cladding;
(e)  Where the building has a floor at more than 20 metres height, and there is a gap between the cladding and the wall of the building, this gap should be fire stopped, to prevent the fire spreading up the inside of the cladding.
Witnesses to the inquiry (including the Fire Brigades Union, the Loss Prevention Council (technical advisers to the insurance industry), manufacturers of external cladding systems, and independent fire safety consultants damningly  suggested that the guidance given in Approved Document B
“may not be adequate for the purposes of ensuring the safety of external cladding systems in a fire. We were also told in oral evidence by Peter Field of the Buildings Research Establishment, which has done a great deal of work on these issues, that the existing guidance "is far from being totally adequate".
The MPs stressed their “ witnesses' chief concerns lay with the risk of unexpectedly rapid fire spread involving these systems, which, it was suggested, may have a number of adverse consequences of which the existing guidance does not necessarily take full account. These are:
  • shorter period available for escape from the building, thus potentially endangering life;
  • disproportionate difficulties in firefighting;
  • disproportionate damage to the building.
Witnesses also raised a number of other potential problems, the MPs pointed out, of which existing tests may not take proper account: (my emphasis)  
  • the fixtures which attach the cladding to the building may not withstand the fire, risking the detachment of the system from the building and endangering persons in and around the building, including firefighters;
  • if plastic materials are used for the cladding, they could melt and form burning droplets which again endanger people below;
  • certain materials could degrade over time and become less resistant to flame spread than they were at the time of construction.
12. Witnesses' complaints about the adequacy of the guidance focus on the methods of testing a material for resistance to fire spread. The classifications 'limited combustibility' and 'Class O' referred to in Approved Document B rely on small-scale tests conducted in laboratory conditions.
Even more damningly, It was suggested that these tests “do not properly evaluate the performance of large, complete, cladding systems in a 'live' fire situation.” (my emphasis)
In a chillingly prescient passage, they note “Concerns about the fire safety of external cladding systems are not new. A fire which occurred in a tower block in Knowsley in 1991 was started at ground floor level and spread up 11 floors behind 'rainscreen' cladding. The inquiry which followed this fire resulted in a change to Approved Document B which provided for the requirements for 'Class O' material to be used on both the inside and outside of external cladding, and to include 'fire stopping' in the gap between the cladding and the wall of the building (see (d) and (e) in paragraph 7 above).
And added “The evidence we have received strongly suggests that the small-scale tests which are currently used to determine the fire safety of external cladding systems are not fully effective in evaluating their performance in a 'live' fire situation. As a more appropriate test for external cladding systems now exists, we see no reason why it should not be used.
 They finally recommended that
“the responsible government department ( then DETR) and the Housing Corporation instruct local authorities and Registered Social Landlords] to undertake a review of their existing building stock with a view to ascertaining how many multi-storey buildings are currently using external cladding systems; and how many cladding systems are in use which, whilst complying with the regulations in force at the time when they were installed, do not comply with current Regulations.
Competent fire safety assessors should then be called in to evaluate what work may be necessary to ensure that no undue risk is posed by any of these systems, with particular reference to the lessons learnt from the fires at Knowsley Heights and Garnock Court. Local authorities and Registered Social Landlords should also be instructed to monitor existing cladding systems carefully to ensure that the materials from which they are constructed do not degrade over time and become less resistant to flame spread than they were at the time of construction.”
If only these recommendations had been heeded, the residents of  Grenfell Tower may now still be safe at home and alive.
May’s fire risk warnings
The Home Office, under Theresa May’s leadership, issued a suite of documents in late December 2012 on fire safety. The information note stressed that these guides:
  • tell businesses what they need to do to comply with fire safety law
  • help businesses carry out a fire risk assessment
  • help businesses identify the general fire precautions they need to have in place
 (“Fire safety law and guidance documents for business,” Home Office , 13 December 2012)
On 5 January 2016 responsibility for fire and rescue policy transferred from the Department for Communities and Local Government to the Home Office.
Despite all these warnings, the RBKC web site currently  posts this complacent  advice on its web site:
Fire safety advice
The Royal Borough has some of the largest Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the country, with properties often comprising five or more storeys, and containing up to thirty dwellings. Tackling fire safety protects residents from unsafe conditions.
Compulsory licensing of HMOs was introduced by the Housing Act 2004. It applies to all privately rented HMOs that are three or more storeys high, occupied by five or more people who form more than one household, and where there is some sharing of amenities.
A programme of inspections takes place to tackle high-risk HMOs to ensure that means of escape and adequate fire safety measures are in place and to identify unlicensed HMOs.
There is an overlapping fire safety responsibility between the Council and the London Fire Brigade (LFB). Owners are required to carry out a fire risk assessment and make an emergency plan. The fire risk assessment is a systematic examination of the premises to identify the hazards from fire which must be recorded.
The Council enforces the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) in the private sector under the Housing Act 2004. The HHSRS is a ‘risk based’ assessment of the risks to safety from fire and other hazards. The Council has a range of enforcement powers to ensure that premises are made safe. Management Regulations in HMOs also impose requirements that fire safety measures are maintained.


Painful lessons

In a report published on 13 July last year by the by the RBKC’s Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation’s (KCTMO) Performance Review 2015/16 conclusion 3.1 reads  “KCTMO has demonstrated its on-going commitment to providing quality housing management services and to being the key strategic and residents across a range of operational areas. As well as delivery against the agreed performance indicators the pro-active asset management ensures that the Borough’s stock, both residential and commercial, is being maximized in terms of use and rental income; compliance with audit and health and safety legislation protects both residents and the Council’s standing (emphasis added); and adapting and working with the Borough to implement new legislation and working practices ensures that the Borough continues to provide quality housing services within the resources available.” (

An annex on enagaging residents  records without any apparent irony:

The Communities outreach project has been extremely successful and has engaged with 400 residents and their families that KCTMO has not worked with before. The project was nominated for an award by the Nation Federation of ALMOs) (arms-length  management organisations for local government)

RC invite web

I doubt anyone would nominate either the RBKC or the K&C TMO for any community  award after the past week’s traumatic events in North Kensington, which could have been avoided had those in responsible positions been more responsible in their decisions and actions. After all, they were warned, many times!

A shorter version was published in the Morning Star on 3 July at:

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