A direct approach to the Hackitt Review by lawyers representing a large number of Core Participant victims in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry was rebuffed by the Hackitt Report Review team. Repeated requests for access to documentation and evidence from industry groups gathered by the Review team behind closed doors were met with a blanket refusal, effectively silencing any fully-informed and meaningful input from the Grenfell victims and preventing their voices from being adequately heard by the Hackitt Review.
Ignored own findings
In refusing meaningful and informed engagement with victims of Grenfell, the one group of people most directly affected by issues concerning cladding and regulation, the Hackitt Review has ignored one its key, highlighted findings in the Interim Report of December 2017:
“Residents’ voices are not heard – there are inadequate channels for residents to have a voice on fire safety...”
Lawyers representing the group were allowed only a 30 minute slot with officials from the Review team ‘due to diary pressures’ to put the case for the Grenfell victims’ full participation in evidence- gathering for the Review, despite several requests for an adequate opportunity for discussion.
Martin Howe, senior partner of Howe & Co Solicitors, representing Grenfell victims said:
“The Hackitt report places emphasis on the importance of victims’ voices being heard but has shown a stark lack of meaningful commitment to that process.
The call for evidence by the Hackitt Review was made when Grenfell survivors were traumatised by the awful events; they were scattered around London in emergency and temporary accommodation; some were in hospital struggling to breathe let alone speak due to smoke inhalation and toxic poisoning. The families of those killed were deep in grief trying to pick up the pieces of broken families. The Grenfell victims were simply not in a position to respond to the call for evidence in anything like the same way that institutional and industry bodies were able to contribute. The victims’ voices were once again ignored.”