The fire in Grenfell Tower was an unimaginable tragedy, and I am determined that justice is done for the victims, survivors, bereaved and the wider community.
On 21 December 2017, I wrote to Sir Martin Moore-Bick, chair of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry with my decision not to appoint additional panel members to the Inquiry at that time. The Inquiries Act 2005 affords me the power to appoint panel members at any time during the Inquiry and I previously indicated my intention to keep the matter under review.
Since December, the Inquiry has made significant progress. It has received some 330,000 documents, and expects that figure to grow to 400,000. Sir Martin’s team have conducted a first stage review of approximately 183,000 documents. The Inquiry has confirmed that it is continuing to identify potentially relevant providers of documents as work progresses.
The process of gathering and identifying relevant documents for phase 2 has started in parallel with the phase 1 disclosure exercise. The Inquiry has confirmed that it is expecting that a “significant volume of documentation will be disclosed at this stage”.
Sir Martin has appointed 547 core participants to the Inquiry – 519 of them individuals from the Grenfell community. This is an unprecedented number.
Given the extent of the tragedy, we should not be surprised by the scale and range of issues that are emerging from the Inquiry’s early work.
Phase 2 of the Inquiry will be the largest phase in terms of the number of issues to be considered, and it is appropriate for me to reflect now on the two distinct phases of the Inquiry’s work and to consider the most appropriate composition of the Inquiry panel for phase 2.
To ensure that the Inquiry panel itself also has the necessary breadth of skills and diversity of expertise relevant to the broad range of issues to be considered in phase 2, and to best serve the increasing scale and complexity of the Inquiry, I have decided to appoint an additional two panel members to support Sir Martin’s chairmanship for phase 2 of the Inquiry’s work onwards. I wrote to Sir Martin yesterday, informing him of my decision.
Once suitable panel members have been identified, I will write to Sir Martin again to seek his consent to any appointment, in accordance with section 7(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005.