The Grenfell Tower Inquiry opened on Monday 21 May with tributes to those who died in the tragedy by their family and friends.
Families are being given as long as they want to tell the inquiry about those they lost, and many are choosing to use photos and videos as well as words. The first day of the inquiry heard tributes about Logan Gomes, a baby born still-born after the fire, as well as of Khadija Saye and her mother Mary Mendy, Denis Murphy, Joseph Daniels, and Mohamed Neda.
The inquiry, led by controversial retired Judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, was announced by Theresa May the day after the fire. So far some 267,000 documents have been received and reviewed by the inquiry and 547 people have been given “core participant” status.
But, controversially, some key activists in the Grenfell Action Group, who had campaigned about safety in the block before the fire, have not been made “core participants”. Nine expert witnesses have so far been announced, expected to cover issues such as the spread of the fire, the regulation of the building, the fire brigade’s role, and gas and water supplies to the tower. However Moore-Bick and the inquiry have been criticised for not including wider social and political issues, such as race, poverty, and social housing in the remit of the inquiry.
On the same day BBC Panorama aired a programme called “Grenfell: Who is to Blame?” which claimed that the cladding which burned out of control had never passed the required safety tests, and may have been mis-sold by the manufacturer.
It was reported that the manufacturer used extra fire retardant in the product which qualified for a safety certificate, but a more flammable version was then sold for public use.
The company was also apparently warned that its marketing suggested the insulation was suitable for use with other cladding panels and for tower block refurbishments — neither of which was true.
After the fire another review, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, was commissioned by the Home Office, and Department for Communities and Local Government, into building regulations and fire safety. Published on 17 May, the report has angered many as it stopped short of calling for a ban on combustible cladding.
The first anniversary of the fire on 14 June will be marked by a silent march through the local area.
Many of the survivors marching will still be without permanent accommodation 12 months on. 201 of the 210 affected households have accepted offers of temporary or permanent accommodation. The rest remain in emergency accommodation. It is estimated that only a third of those rehoused are in secure, permanent new homes.
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry is not expected to report its findings until at least October.