‘Playing a meaningful role in the Inquiry is important for bereaved people who cannot properly begin to grieve until they have found out the truth behind their loss.’
This is from a May 2019 report from INQUEST (pdf) on their Grenfell Family Consultation Day – a day designed to place families at the heart of the discussion about the state’s response to the fire.
Key findings of the day included:
- In the immediate aftermath of the fire support, information and communication was chaotic and inconsistent – this increased families’ anxiety and trauma.
- The inadequacy of the state’s response meant the local community, NGOs and families were forced to assume the role of advocates, carers and sources of information.
- Families considered that pen portraits and commemoration had been a fitting and appropriate way to begin phase one of the Public Inquiry.
- Families felt there was no systematic plan for communicating to them when the Inquiry would start, its terms of reference and how families could engage with it.
- Families were critical of a perceived lack of candour on the part of authorities and corporate entities when being questioned.
- Those for whom English is a second language required additional support and interpreters with specialist legal understanding as well as the appropriate dialects
The report includes several recommendations from the families, including a centralised information hub, pastoral care, a unique case number for each family, experienced key workers, free independent mental health provision, an independent and diverse decision-making panel for phase two of the Inquiry, and seminars to unpick technical jargon.