After I published John Healy’s personal account of his fears as a disabled pensioner, living on the 5th floor of a South Kilburn council block with no fire alarm system, of succumbing to a fire in the wake of Grenfell LINK as no Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) was in place LINK, Brent Council issued this statement:
Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEP) are essential for anyone who may need
assistance in the unlikely event of being advised to leave a building because
of fire. We're concerned that something seems to have gone wrong here and have
contacted Mr Healy to put it right.
Last year, we proactively reached out to all tenants, asking anyone who needed assistance to complete a PEEP. We don't seem to have received a PEEP from Mr Healy and will be investigating what has gone wrong here, along with Mr Healy's comments about not being able to reach us.
Three weeks later and 7 months since John first completed his PEEP application form the PEEP is not yet in place and the assurance he needs that his hearing and mobility disabilities would be catered for in the event of a fire has not been provided – Brent Council is failing in its duty of care to one of its vulnerable tenants.
John told Wembley Matters on March 31st:
After 26 emails and numerous phone calls during the whole of March, they annoyed me yesterday by asking me "to clarify why I need a PEEP?".
In the previous 26 emails, I have given several council officers and councillors all the information they asked me for, as to why I need a PEEP but none of it seems to have been understood by any of them.
I now know how those Grenfell residents must have felt when they tried to inform Kensington and Chelsea council and their TMO. To be honest I expected more from Brent Council but they have shown me that they are no better than any other council in London.
The council say they only became aware of my situation when I completed a new PEEP application online on the 19th March 2021 and entered it on their PEEP database on the 22nd March 2021. All my previous emails and phone calls over the previous 6 months have no bearing on my new application, says my Buildings officer. In other words, he never even saw the article in Wembley Matters as it was published on the 12th March 2021, or anything else that I sent since early Sept. 2020, after returning my first PEEP application form.
I made a first stage complaint, but I sent it before hearing from the council, that my application only began on the 19th March 2021. After sending in my complaint, I did receive an apology from the Lead Officer for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Community Wellbeing, which I assumed was in connection with the complaint but the officer never actually mentioned the word 'complaint' in her email.
Mr Healy is ready to give up and resign himself to sleepless nights over his fears for himself and other residents caught in this bureaucratic nightmare.
Surely Brent Council, which has been awarded ‘Disability Confident Leader Status’ as a provider, commissioner of services and an employer LINK, should be doing better?