Theresa May agreed, after almost a year of campaigning by survivors and those who support them, that the Grenfell Inquiry Panel will have two additional members. However, there is very little information on who those panel members will be and how they will be decided amongst other issues surrounding this decision by the Prime Minister. So, what does this all really mean and why are the government reluctant to place anyone from the community or someone who truly understands on the panel?

The panel needs individuals who can challenge the status quo and drive home the truth of the wider implications of government policy on communities like Grenfell.

Fair representation

Some of the issues are that there is very little understanding who is going to be on the panel, how they are going to be chosen and importantly, will they have equal decision-making powers. The issue of inherent inequality led to the 71 deaths at Grenfell Tower and if the extra panel members are both from the community/survivors and placed on the panel, then they must be equal in everything. This will not just mean that they will have fair representation but it will be a symbol that progress can be made when people unite.

Interestingly, the extra panel members won’t be involved from phase one, but from phase two. This is important because phase one will examine the emergency services response, why they did what they did and their adequacy.

Phase 2 will consider the lessons to be learned but how can the extra panel members consider those lessons if they haven’t heard the ‘one the night’ phase?

There is a lot to be wanting from the government over Grenfell and their failings are mounting and clear to see and highlighted by the inquiry itself, due to the narrow filed of vision and focus on the emergency services and ‘lessons to be learned’ rather than the insulation within the cladding, which we know to have exacerbated the fire in the first place.