Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading resource for security and fire news in the industry. James was previously Editor of Professional Heating & Plumbing Installer magazine.
July 7, 2020

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The State of Physical Access Control in EMEA Businesses – 2020 Report

Grenfell Tower

Grenfell Inquiry resumes with limited attendance

Phase 2 of the Grenfell Inquiry resumed on Monday 6th July after chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick suspended the process due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

From this week, the inquiry would once again begin hearing oral evidence ‘on a limited attendance basis’, rather than options such as remote video conferencing after consultation with the key participants and witnesses. Organisers have stated that arrangements have been put in place to ensure limited attendees can use the premises ‘safely and in line with government guidance’.

“Attendance will be restricted to the members of the Panel, Counsel to the Inquiry, the witnesses, their legal representatives and any person providing immediate support, and those Inquiry staff and contractors critical to the operation of the hearings. The Inquiry has also invited a member of the Press Association to attend to enable first-hand reporting and to assist in making the process as transparent as possible.”

Attendee numbers will be reviewed as the situation develops in line with the guidance, though hundreds of survivors and families of residents are likely to be prohibited from attending the hearings for the meantime.

Karim Mussilhy, vice-chair of Grenfell United, has outlined his frustration at the process, explaining that “a part of the justice process is being able to be in the room when people who are responsible for what happened to our loved ones face questions”.

Hearings will continue to be streamed online and remote wellbeing services are still available, however.

Following the restart, the hearing heard that Dr Barker, the former principal fire engineer at materials testing company Exova, did not raise the need for any proposed cladding system to have a separate fire safety assessment during a meeting in 2012. This was because she did not believe that cladding the building would present any particular problems with regards to fire safety. The hearing also heard Dr Barker was under “huge time pressure” during the safety strategy.

The firm’s counsel has told the inquiry that the company had been ‘left out’ of planning discussions after Rydon became the main contractor in 2014.

Follow IFSEC Global’s full timeline of the Grenfell Tower Fire and its repercussions on the fire safety sector. 

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