Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, said:
“Fraud is an issue the council takes very seriously, not just because taxpayers money is being used to support people, but because genuine survivors and bereaved families have raised concerns with us, and we share those concerns.”
“Our absolute priority has always been to assist and help first – it is only right that we do so when families are faced with such extreme trauma and tragedy. Where officers had doubts, they reported it, and then investigations would take place. Investigating and proving any type of fraud always takes time, and we work closely with the police.”
“It is hugely important to me that the public perception of survivors and bereaved is not tarnished by the acts of what is a small minority.”
A Kensington and Chelsea Council spokesperson said:
This is a national issue. Manse Masterdor fire doors are used in social housing across the UK and a question mark hangs over their effectiveness. These doors had all been certified as safe and capable of resisting fire for at least 30 minutes, as required. However, as you have reported, the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government has recently tested a number of Manse doors taken from councils across the capital, including Kensington and Chelsea. They all failed fire safety tests and did not resist fire for the required 30 minutes.
The Secretary of State James Brokenshire has said all Manse doors across the country must to be replaced, but stated that ‘the risk to public safety remains low’.
However, Kensington and Chelsea Council believes that the replacement programme must be started as a matter of urgency and as such councillors will next Wednesday (June 6) consider a recommendation to replace doors across the borough. All of the new doors will meet the 30-minute requirement but, given the issue with Manse Masterdor units, the Council will send the new doors for independent testing so that we can be 100 per cent sure the doors will resist fire for at least 30 minutes. Saving lives is our single priority. We are taking nothing for granted.
A new Independent Adjudicator who will bring an independent and impartial view to dealing with Grenfell-related complaints, has been appointed by Kensington and Chelsea Council.
Katrina Robinson MBE, will bring a wealth of experience to the role and starts with the Council on Monday 21 May. Katrina is a solicitor with over 20 years experience in housing law.
She has worked closely with residents, including social tenants, throughout her career, investigating complex complaints and helping social landlords to improve how they work with residents. In 2016 she was awarded an MBE for services to social housing.
Kensington and Chelsea Council is determined to make sure complaints about Grenfell services are dealt with quickly and efficiently and in a fair and transparent way. The Independent Adjudicator adds an extra layer of transparency to this process. She will work entirely separately from the Grenfell Team and will be outside the normal Council management structures. She will report directly to the Chief Executive and the Leadership Team.
The Council has recently launched a new dedicated Grenfell Complaints team which will be solely responsible for investigating Grenfell-related complaints. The new Complaints team will handle all complaints relating to the Grenfell rehousing process, the Key Work service, assistance centres and any other area of the Grenfell directorate.
It will follow the three stage corporate complaints procedure and will provide a single point of contact for any residents wishing to make a complaint.
The Independent Adjudicator will be the third stage of this process and will review complex and sensitive cases, challenge evidence, question officers, form an independent judgement and propose a resolution to the Council. This will also include reviewing Grenfell housing allocation decisions and ensuring that reasonable offers have been made to residents.
If residents are still not satisfied with the Independent Adjudicator’s suggested outcome, they can contact the Local Government Ombudsman. Find out more at lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaint.
You can contact the Grenfell Complaints team on email@example.com