Wednesday 31 August 2022

1 Morland Gardens – Brent’s final word on a potentially unlawful contract

 Guest post by Philip Grant in a personal capacity.

1 Morland Gardens and the community garden, July 2022.


Two weeks ago, I shared with you an email I’d sent to Brent’s Legal Director, asking her to reconsider her view that the recent contract awarded for the Council’s proposed Morland Gardens redevelopment was lawful. This was in the light of information I’d obtained under an FoI request.


As I think it is important to give the Council a “right of reply” when important points are raised with them and made public, I will ask Martin to publish the full text of the email I received on 25 August. For completeness, I will also include the response I sent on 30 August, and divide the two with an illustration.


If you haven’t already done so, it will probably help to read my earlier guest post (see “link” above). The first email, from Brent, is not “light reading”, but it does give anyone who may be involved in similar disputes with the Council a flavour of what they might expect! Here it is:


‘Dear Mr Grant


Thank you for your email of 18 August that was received whilst I was on leave.


I have now had an opportunity of reviewing your email.


I note that you have helpfully highlighted key parts of your email on which you seek a response from me. 


You indicate:


I believe that Brent Council has failed to treat those “economic operators equally and without discrimination” as required by Regulation 18(1).


This statement relates to the process operated by Council Officers in the direct section of a preferred contractor under Schedule 1 of the Network Homes Framework Agreement.  Paragraph 3.1 reads that:


‘Direct selection may be used where the Client or any Additional Client considers that it will demonstrate best value for a Project. Subject to paragraph 3.2, the Client or any Additional Client will make a decision on who to directly appoint for a Project based on a best value assessment using a combination of the Contractor’s tender submissions for the Framework and where relevant the Contractor’s:

3.1.1    knowledge and experience of, or relationship to, the site of a Project;

3.1.2    capacity (quantity of work currently instructed) under the Framework;

3.1.3    previous performance under the Framework; and/or

3.1.4    resources available for the particular Project.’


It is clear that under the Network Homes Contractors Framework, “Additional Clients” must carry out an assessment using a combination of the Contractor’s tender submission for the Framework and where relevant the various matters detailed in 3.1.1 – 3.1.4.  Officer’s approach to the best value assessment is contained in the Direct Award Evaluation Process Document, particularly in paragraphs 2.3 – 2.6 and paragraph 2.9.  There is no requirement under the direct award procedure to contact bidders directly in carrying out such assessment.


Hill Partnerships Ltd. detailed knowledge of the Morland Gardens site was considered significant and as detailed in paragraph 2.6 of the Direct Award Evaluation Process Document:


“It is felt this is a key element of the best value justification as the supplier knows the site and the requirements of the project and would need little time to provide a compliant tender for a call-off from the Network Homes Contractor Framework Lot 3….”


 You further state:


I also believe that the answer to question 6 of my FoI request, about Brent Council’s contacts with Hill Partnerships Ltd over a possible contract award under the NHCF, shows that there is a clear breach of Regulation 18(3).


As you indicate, Regulation 18(3) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015) states:

‘For that purpose, competition shall be considered to be artificially narrowed where the design of the procurement is made with the intention of unduly favouring or disadvantaging certain economic operators.’


I do not consider that Officers selection of the Network Homes Contractors Framework was in breach of Regulation 18(3) of the PCR 2015.  By its very nature, the use of any framework will unduly favour those economic operators on the framework but the use of frameworks is provided for in the PCR 2015.  Indeed the PCR 2015 permits the use of single supplier frameworks.  The selection of a framework of itself is therefore not unduly favouring or disadvantaging certain economic operators.


From the Direct Award Evaluation Process Document it would appear that Officers followed the direct award process as provided for in paragraph 3.1 of Schedule 1 of the Network Homes Contractors Framework and as such it is not considered that this process unduly favoured or disadvantaging certain economic operators.


You state:


The procurement process, which Cabinet approved on 20 June, was designed “with the intention of unduly favouring” one particular economic operator, Hill Partnerships Ltd.


Cabinet on 20th June 2022 approved the following recommendations:


2.1       Approve the inviting of a tender using a direct award process under the Network Homes Contractor Framework agreement on the basis of the pre-tender considerations set out in paragraph 3.6 of the report.

2.2       Delegate authority to award the contract for the Morland Gardens Redevelopment Design and Build contract following the successful outcome of the tender exercise to the Strategic Director, Regeneration & Environment, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance, Resources & Reform.


For the reasons detailed above, the selection of the Network Homes Contractor Framework agreement of itself is not considered to be unduly favouring or disadvantaging certain economic operators contrary to Regulation 18(3).


Further it was indicated to Cabinet in the report that a contractor would be selected to tender based on a best value assessment.  Cabinet in making its decision did not therefore know which organisation would be identified for direct award.


In view of the above, I do not consider that there has been an unlawful contract awarded for the Morland Gardens project.


Best wishes


Debra Norman


Director of Legal, HR, Audit and Investigations’


Regulation 18, Public Contracts Regulations 2015. (From the Government website)


This was my response to Debra Norman’s email of 25 August:


This is an open email

Dear Ms Norman,


Thank you for your email of 25 August. Your response was not unexpected, as I know that you will always seek to defend Brent Council and its staff.


I will not prolong this correspondence unnecessarily. You have set out your position, and we will have to agree to disagree.


It is quite clear from the evidence (especially the answer to question 6 of my FoI request) that when Council Officers realised, at the end of May 2022, that they would not be able to award the Morland Gardens contract to Hill Partnerships Ltd under the Notting Hill Genesis Framework, they were looking for a way to award the contract, to that contractor, as quickly as possible by another means.


The Network Homes Contractor Framework provided the means, as it allowed for the direct award of contracts, and Hill Partnerships Ltd were one of the approved contractors under its Lot 3. The Direct Award Evaluation Process was carried out, as required under the Framework, but in such a way (because of the timeframe constraints imposed) that there was only one possible outcome.


That is why I still consider that the procurement process, approved by Cabinet on 20 June, was designed “with the intention of unduly favouring” Hill Partnerships Ltd, so that it breached the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.


Best wishes,


Philip Grant.


Question 6 and Brent’s response, from my Freedom of Information Act request.


You can make up your own minds as to whether or not Brent Council’s 1 Morland Gardens contract was awarded unlawfully!

Philip Grant.


Wembley Arena Square was cut off from the public this morning by Heras fencing and heavily policed by private security guards.



When I asked them what was going on they first said, 'A conference' and asked what the conference was for replied, 'It is to make everyone's life better.' When I said, 'Oh yeah!' they added, 'That is what we are all going to tell you.'

Huh! It turns out to be the last hustings for the Tory Party leadership with 6,000 Tories expected. Enough to declare a public health emergency in Brent!

Attempts are being made to organise a cost of living demonstration. This is last minute but if you can get along assemble from 6pm outside Brent Civic Centre. Bring banners and home made placards.

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Newland Court residents put question to Brent Council


 I would like to speak at the next council meeting on Wednesday 21st September regarding Brent Council's proposal to build 7 new homes opposite existing flats at Newland Court. My question will be directed at Cllr Promise Knight  (Member for housing homelessness and renters security), Cllr Shama Tatler (Member for regeneration and planning) and Cllr Neil Nerva (Member for public health and adult social care) on whether they have any concerns and have thought about how this could have a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of the existing residents if this proposal were to go ahead.


With crippling inflation and energy prices which are already affecting mainly elderly pensioners, those on benefits and on low income! These residents make up a large percentage at Newland Court who are so worried and concerned and have signed a petition and are totally opposed to Brent Council’s proposal to build 7 new town houses opposite the existing flats at Newland Court. 


Is Brent Council still prepared to go ahead with this proposal at the expense of the health and mental well being of the existing residents who are already at breaking point as it is?  

Yours sincerely, 

Marc Etukudo.

Representing concerned and worried Newland Court residents


New Coalition 'Warm This Winter' launch petition to Tory Leader candidates - Link to petition in the article


Warm This Winter, a new national coalition group, has published an open letter in The Times to all candidates in the race to become the next Prime Minister asking that they urgently set out how they plan to address the cost of living crisis driven by soaring energy bills.

The letter calls on each of the candidates to use these next precious few weeks to set out practical measures for how they will help people now, and how they will ensure we have lower energy bills in future.

The campaign, which is backed by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, is pushing for practical solutions that have the public’s support, and which are ready-to-roll out now, including:

  • Providing financial support to people who without urgent action will be on the front-line of poverty this winter
  • Upgrading and insulating homes across the UK to bring down bills and prevent energy waste
  • Rapidly expanding clean energy, which is now four times cheaper than gas, to urgently lower energy bills
  • Stopping drilling new oil and gas fields so that we can escape our dependence on volatile fossil fuels.

A spokesperson for the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented:

Based on current estimates, well in excess of a third of all homes will be in fuel poverty this winter, yet the candidates to be our next Prime Minister are ignoring the single most pressing issue facing families across the country.

Unless leadership candidates promise bold and decisive action, the next Prime Minister’s first act as leader will be to preside over the worst winter for millions of people in living memory.

Full letter to candidates

We are writing to you from Warm This Winter – a new national coalition representing 40 organisations and over 22 million people from across the UK during this time of national economic crisis – to ask what your plan would be as Prime Minister to address the cost of living crisis.

We are headed into a potentially catastrophic winter. In eleven weeks time, more than a third of households – many millions of British families –  may not be able to afford to heat their homes. Meanwhile, earlier this year, 2.3 million families on low income were going without enough food and were unable to keep their homes warm.

According to the latest predictions, from October 1st the average annual energy bill will be over £3200. That means, for example, that the average pensioner will spend more than a third of their state pension on heating their home – and many people, including families, will have to choose between heating and eating. In the words of Martin Lewis last week: “millions of households will be forced into poverty unless we act. This is a genuine, urgent emergency.”

So far in the Conservative leadership campaign, no candidate has put forward a credible plan to support families, businesses, village and community halls, places of worship, hospitals and schools to keep their buildings warm this winter. Indeed whilst the public has grasped the scale and seriousness of the crisis heading our way, none of the leadership candidates seems to have done so.

We believe that in these next precious few weeks – when the Government should be planning and preparing for this winter – you should set out your plan for tackling the crisis of unaffordable energy bills, which are set to remain high until at least 2025. We know that this emergency, fuelled by the spiralling price of gas and by the war in Ukraine, does have solutions that are ready-to-roll out now – and that would also help us protect the future of the natural world – these include:

  • Providing financial support to people who without urgent action will be on the front-line of poverty this winter
  • Upgrading and insulating homes across the UK to bring down bills and prevent energy waste
  • Rapidly expanding clean energy, which is now four times cheaper than gas, to urgently lower energy bills
  • Moving away from drilling new oil and gas fields so that we can escape our dependence on volatile fossil fuels

Our members and supporters want to know what your plan would be – so we can have a proper debate on the most important and urgent issue facing this country. Whilst we may not all have a say in who becomes the next Prime Minister, we can ask that any candidate has a practical plan to keep people safe and warm this winter.

We would be keen to meet with you to discuss this further.

Full list of signatories:

  1. End Fuel Poverty Coalition
  2. The Climate Coalition
  3. CPRE The countryside charity
  4. Wildlife & Countryside Link
  5. Save the Children
  6. WWF UK
  7. The Wildlife Trusts
  8. Oxfam
  9. Fuel Poverty Action
  10. Fair Energy Campaign
  11. Robin Hood Tax
  12. The Centre for Sustainable Energy
  13. Energy Action Scotland
  14. Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
  15. Possible
  16. Ashden
  17. Austerity Action Group part of Social Workers Union
  18. New Economics Foundation
  19. Uplift
  20. Camden Federation of Private Tenants
  21. Regen
  22. Northern Housing Consortium
  23. Groundwork
  24. Advice for Renters
  25. Fairer Housing
  26. Friends of the Earth Scotland
  27. MCS Charitable Foundation
  28. Fairness Foundation
  29. Tax Justice UK
  30. Women’s Budget Group
  31. The Economic Change Unit
  32. Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland
  33. IPPR
  34. Chartered Institute of Housing
  35. The Centre for Ageing Better
  36. The Working Class Economists Group
  37. Greenpeace UK
  38. Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  39. 38 Degrees
  40. Action with Communities in Rural England


The Petition - SIGN HERE

In October, millions of households across the UK could be pushed into fuel poverty by soaring energy bills. This comes after oil and gas giants, like Shell and BP, announced record-breaking profits. No more.

Oil and gas companies are getting richer while people are struggling to pay their bills. Our government’s failure to act will have catastrophic effects this winter. 

It’s wrong that people in this country are forced to ride buses or visit public spaces just to keep warm – while, at the same time, oil and gas companies earn vast profits. 

We all deserve to be warm in our own home, but right now soaring energy bills mean that many millions of people will struggle to pay their energy bill. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The UK has the means to solve the energy price crisis – but it will take action from the government. We’re demanding the UK government helps those people who need it now and fixes the UK’s broken energy system for good. Here's what we're demanding:

  • Emergency support now: Providing a new package of financial support to people who without urgent action will be on the front-line of poverty this winter.
  • Help to upgrade homes: Launching a new, properly-funded programme of home upgrades and insulation across the UK to bring down bills and prevent energy waste. 
  • Cheap energy:  More than triple the amount of renewable energy in the UK by 2030, including wind and solar generated in harmony with nature, so that we can permanently lower bills.
  • Free us from oil and gas: Stop approving new oil and gas fields so that we can escape our dependence on volatile fossil fuels 

Monday 29 August 2022

Red Kites over Brent and Harrow. Have you seen them?


Red Kite (RSPB)

Red Kites were re-introduced into England in July 1990 in the Chiltern Hills. They had been wiped out by by persecution but the re-introduced birds were breeding by the next year.  They are a wonderful sight over the hills, easily reached by the Metropolitan and Chiltern lines.

However, I have seen them occasionaly in Brent, usually singly and high in the sky and last week asked on Twitter about sightings.

I had many replies with up to 6 seen over Northwick Park, but usually two and others seen in Wembley (by someone on their way to the Coldplay Concert), Sudbury Town, Alperton, South Harrow, Preston Road, Barn Hill, Fryent Country Park and even Wembley High Road.

You will sometimes see them mobbed by crows. Keep your eyes open and Tweet (no joke intended) @WembleyMatters to say where you have seen them.

It would be wonderful if we had our own breeding pairs in North West London.


Harlesden Library closed for 6 months for refurbishment

 From Brent Libraries

Harlesden Library will be closed for refurbishment between 29 August 2022 and February 2023.

Reserve and collect, essential PC use and printing will be available at a library contact point in The Designworks, Harlesden, NW10 4HT from Monday 12th September.  

We will also have a small collection of children and adult stock available to borrow. All other libraries will be open as usual.

Any Harlesden Library items you have on loan can be returned to any other library in Brent. For any further information please check our library web pages, email:
 or telephone 0208 937 3400.

Sunday 28 August 2022

Can we have a GP system that works for everyone? Tuesday 30th August 5.50pm


From the Advocacy Project and Healthwatch Brent

In a time of unprecedented demand, many people are finding it difficult to access their GP when they need to – leading to a backlog of patients who don’t know where to go to get care. Meanwhile, doctors are struggling with long hours and the challenge of prioritising those in greatest need while still providing a robust service for the rest of their patients.

So what can be done? We’ve invited Dr Chaand Nagpaul CBE – a London GP, former chair of the BMA Council and current chair of the BMA Racial & Ethnic Equality Forum – to talk about some of the ways we can relieve pressure on the system and keep our primary care service working for everyone.

Sharing insight from his work with the BMA and his own experience as a GP, Dr Nagpaul will discuss the work being done to improve access to services, and the options patients have for seeking care.

Please join us at 5.50pm for a 6pm start. After booking you will be able to access the Zoom link through Eventbrite - it will also be sent via email the day before the lecture. There will be plenty of time for Q&A during the event, but please note that we will be unable to answer questions about individuals' personal circumstances.

Friday 26 August 2022


 From Good Law Project

Legal campaign group Good Law Project, Fuel Poverty Action, and the Highlands and Islands Affordable Homes Warmth Group have announced they are planning to sue the energy regulator Ofgem, over its failure to mitigate the impact of rising energy bills on consumers. 


This is likely to be the first legal action of its kind over the energy bills crisis, and others may join the action - including vulnerable individuals disproportionately impacted by Ofgem’s actions. 


In response to Ofgem’s announcement today that it is raising the price cap to an eye-watering £3,549, Jo Maugham, Director of Good Law Project said: 


The announcement today will devastate families. Just who and what is Ofgem for? Do not be fooled. This is a choice. And the choice they’ve made is to let low-income consumers and small businesses bear the brunt of this crisis.


We believe Ofgem can - and should do more. We intend to put the question before the High Court, and will ask for a fast-tracked timeline to reflect the urgency of this crisis.


The Ofgem announcement will push millions of people into poverty this winter and the average household bill up by £1,578 - an 80 per cent increase from the current cap. 


GLP will ask the High Court to ensure the regulator upholds its legal duties to, among other things, carry out an impact assessment before confirming the price cap increase, including assessing the disproportionate impact on elderly people, children and people with disabilities.


Good Law Project argues that Ofgem has the power to do more to protect vulnerable people and believes before raising the cap, Ofgem is legally required to:

  • Provide evidence it has carried out a proper impact assessment
  • Consider appropriate mitigation measures for the most vulnerable, including a lower social tariff.

In July, the campaign group wrote to Ofgem, expressing concern about its decision-making. We asked it to provide proof of its impact assessments. It failed to produce any such evidence. Last week GLP put the regulator on notice of formal legal action if it failed to uphold its duties. A formal response to the letter is expected today, but today’s announcement provides no indication that an impact assessment has been carried out.

Thursday 25 August 2022

Free Laptop Health Checks & potential fixing with Dr. Laptop Abbey Road Recycling Centre Saturday September 3rd


The last Dr Laptop session at Wembley Library in August had the best turnout yet with full attendance and 50% of the laptops repaired on the spot.

The September session is at the West London Waste Recycling Centre.  These are the details:

We are delighted to invite you to our monthly Fixing Factory event! Come and get your laptop health-checked FREE with our IT specialists.

About this event Saturday September 3rd from 10.30am

If you're having problems with your device and don't know what's wrong, our friendly IT experts are on hand to help answer all your questions. Don't despair - choose repair!

We've opened the UK's FIRST EVER Fixing Factory at Abbey Road Recycling Centre in Brent to tackle the major problem of discarded tech.

Last year, west Londoners threw out 116,000 tonnes of electrical items – that’s over 68 Wembley arches worth of stuff! We're fixing our relationship with tech by:

- Saving laptops & tablets from waste by refurbishing and repairing them

- Teaching FREE repair skills to local people in the process

- Empowering local communities by giving FREE fixed devices to those without access


Book a slot to come down and receive a free diagnostics check and repair advice on your laptop or tablet. Our expert volunteers will need the full hour so don’t be late! We fix over 50% of devices on the spot.


Location: Abbey Road Reuse and Recycling Centre, Brent, London NW10 7TJ

#GetFixed #MakeItLast #FixingFactory

How to get here:

Stonebridge Park (Overground) - 10 min walk

Hanger Lane (Central Line) - 20 min walk

By bus: 440 or 224 to Tudor Estate, or 112 to Abbey Road

If arriving on foot please stick to marked crossings and footpaths.

If arriving by bicycle, there are secure storage racks next to the Fixing Factory

If arriving by car, the car park is the first on your left as you drive in

(You must be over 18 to attend - please note that anyone under the age of 18, including accompanied minors, cannot attend due to site health and safety policy)

PLEASE NOTE: if you cannot attend your time slot for any reason, cancel it using this LINK.

Or email to say you can't make it. This gives someone else a chance to use the service.

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Pond Dipping and Nature Trail for children at Welsh Harp Environmental Centre Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August


From Thames 21

Explore the Welsh Harp Environmental Education Centre to see how many newt tadpoles you can catch in our Pond Dipping experience and use the map to find the clues in our exciting woodland Nature Quiz Trail. No need to book, just turn up! All activities free!

Join us on the August Bank Holiday Weekend:
Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August, 10am – 4pm

(Pond dipping anytime 10am – 12pm and 1pm – 4pm, Nature Quiz Trail all day)

Most suitable for children aged 5 – 12yrs and an adult must supervise children during activities. All Welcome!

To get to the Education Centre go all the way to the end of Birchen Grove and through the big gates towards the Garden Centre. You’ll see us just before the Garden Centre.

Mayor of London criticises Government's 'watered down' post-Grenfell building evacuation plans and says PEEPs is the only way to ensure comprehensive & consistent implementation

Sadiq Khan has responded to the Government's post-Grenfell consultation on Emergency Evacuation Information Sharing which they undertook after rejecting the Grenfell Inquiry's recommendation on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs).

It would be useful to know if Brent Council agrees with the London Mayor's  response.


Response to Emergency Evacuation Sharing Information Consultation
17 August 2022


The Mayor of London reiterates his view that legislating for Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) in all buildings of any height covered by the Fire Safety Order, and providing central funding, is the only way to ensure there is comprehensive and consistent implementation across the entire country.

The proposals set out in this consultation on Emergency Evacuation Sharing Information (EEIS) amount to little more than a watered-down version of PEEPs. The Mayor has identified several of limitations to the EEIS proposals and has detailed them below.

Government’s ongoing failure to implement this recommendation from Grenfell Tower Inquiry is disappointing and concerning. Government must ensure that the recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry do not become a missed opportunity for change, as was the case after the Lakanal House fire.

Five years on from the Grenfell fire, the Mayor pays tribute to the bereaved and survivors who are campaigning for change so that a disaster like Grenfell never happens again.

Response to consultation

Following the tragic loss of life in the fire at Grenfell Tower, in which 41 per cent of residents with disabilities died, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommended that owners and managers of every high-rise residential building be required by law to prepare PEEPs for all residents whose ability toself-evacuate may be compromised (such as persons with reduced mobility or cognition).

Given that 83 per cent of respondents to the original PEEPs consultation in 2021 supported the proposal, it is clear that there is significant demand for this recommendation to be implemented in full.

The Mayor is pleased to read that a working group of disabled groups and housing providers is being set up by government and would stress that the group membership must be diverse and reflect all views, including those who would benefit from PEEPs. It is vital that the working group considers and establishes the best way to implement PEEPs in practice.

While the call for evidence on PEEPs is welcome, government should also be conducting pilot schemes and undertaking research to make a more informed assessment of PEEPs in residential housing. The Mayor hopes that this would lead government to reconsider its latest position.

Following a commitment to implement PEEPS fully, the evidence collected from this process could then inform a nationwide protocol, guidance and training on how the housing and development sector could implement the requirements of any legislation on PEEPs.

The Emergency Evacuation Information Sharing (EEIS) consultation released on 18 May 2022 proposes alternative measures to protect the fire safety of residents who would need support to evacuate in an emergency. This proposal differs from PEEPs in a number of key ways. First, it only focuses on residents who are mobility impaired as opposed to those with other physical or cognitive impairments. Second, it only applies to buildings with a simultaneous evacuation strategy and not buildings with a stay put strategy. Third, it proposes five steps that involve conducting a Person Centred Fire Risk Assessment (PCFRA) as opposed to a PEEP, and then sharing information with the local Fire and Rescue Service (FRS). Fourth, it relies on the FRS to conduct rescues of those who would be unable to self-evacuate.

1. Scope

The Mayor is concerned that EEIS only focuses on residents that are mobility impaired and urges government to take a more inclusive approach. People who may be unable to self-evacuate include those with mobility issues but also those with other physical and cognitive impairments which may be permanent or temporary.

2. Building fire strategy

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommended PEEPs for all high-rise residential buildings and government consulted on that proposal on 8 June 2021. Government is now proposing to introduce EEIS – a watered down version of PEEPs – only for buildings with a simultaneous evacuation strategy in place. Under these proposals, those buildings with a stay put policy in place would not be required to provide EEISs for relevant residents. It is welcomed that government has moved away from using height as a distinguishing factor, but the new categorisation of fire strategy cannot be the correct approach either. A resident affected by smoke or fire must have a plan and means to get to a place of safety, regardless of whether the building has a stay put or simultaneous evacuation policy. Grenfell Tower was a building with a stay put policy and 72 people lost their lives. The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report recommended government develop national guidelines for evacuation of high-rise buildings as a result. It is clear that stay put cannot be the only strategy and all buildings must have a Plan B so that residents can evacuate to a place of safety if stay put is no longer viable.

Since Grenfell, countless buildings have been found to have fire safety defects and have therefore been forced to change their fire strategy to simultaneous evacuation until remediation is complete.

Linking EEIS to buildings with simultaneous evacuation risks suggesting building owners can retire EEISs once the building has been remediated. That was never the intention of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendation around PEEPs.

3. Person Centred Fire Risk Assessments (PCFRAs)

A PCFRA is a risk assessment that helps identify residents who are at higher risk from fire in their own flat. It differs from a PEEP in that it is not a bespoke escape plan to assist residents who may have difficulties in evacuating a building unaided during an emergency.

The EEIS consultation proposes a process whereby the Responsible Person (RP) offers a PCFRA to residents who self-identify as requiring assistance to self-evacuate and then connects them with the local FRS to arrange a home fire safety visit.

The Mayor is content with the proposed reliance on self-identification but notes that its success relies on proactive communications from the RP. These communications should encourage residents to consider whether they need support and inform them of their rights.

PCFRAs will help identify residents who are at higher risk from fire in their own accommodation and measures such as fire-retardant bedding and fire safe ashtrays can be put in place for them in their homes. While PCFRAs are welcome and indeed already being undertaken now by some RPs, they focus on reducing the probability of fire inside someone’s flat and, unlike a PEEP, they do not incorporate an evacuation plan.

4. Reliance on FRS conducted rescue

The consultation makes the following argument against PEEPs: ‘the time between a fire being reported and the FRS mounting their operational response at the scene is the period in which a PEEP would be enacted. In a residential setting, there will inevitably be a limit as to what could be safely achieved by a single staff member or even a small team regarding support to mobility impaired residents in advance of the FRS attending with a greater number of competent, trained personnel.’ In other words, government is claiming there is insufficient time for a PEEP to add value and that FRS conducted rescue is always preferable.

The Mayor does not agree with this view for two reasons. First, the time that FRS takes to arrive at an emergency may be quick, but the time taken to actually set up a bridgehead, hoses and get into a position to fight fire and rescue residents in tall buildings is far greater. In reality there is more time for a PEEP to be effective than government is suggesting.

Second, expert evidence in the Inquiry has underscored the importance of timely evacuation to avoid serious and potentially fatal smoke inhalation. This highlights the risk inherent in the EEIS approach which relies solely on FRS conducted rescue instead of supporting self-evacuation.

 I asked the Green Party Disability Group for a comment on the issue. They said:


Personal emergency evacuation plans are critical to sustain human life in this climate crises-ridden world of today. For disabled people to be valued equally as human beings by those in power then society and safe & sustainable environments must be designed for everyone.


We are also living through a mass disabling event with an estimated 2 million people in the UK suffering from Long Covid. Tories view disabled people as having no value & as ‘other’. If those in power designed for us all equally & inclusively we would no longer be disabled.


We would be what we really are - people with impairments. And living equally with everyone else. Against the horrific backdrop of Grenfell & needless loss of life and great suffering each and every Tory voter must hang their heads in shame. Peeps are humane, this Govt isn’t.