Grenfell Tower Inquiry - support for FBU members
This circular is for the attention of all FBU members who may have attended the Grenfell Tower incident or may have been involved in the incident in any other way, for example by handling emergency calls or being involved in relevant fire safety matters.
If you are aware of colleagues who do not receive this communication at home but who were involved please draw their attention to it and ask them to contact us using the contact details provided at the end of the circular.
Core Participant status
The FBU is fully involved in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry (GTI) as a core participant (CP).
The Inquiry has granted us CP status, saying, “…the union to be designated a core participant as representative of its members”. If anything should come to light which means that you think you need individual representation including legal assistance, please let us know immediately. We do not yet know which members the GTI intends to call as witnesses to give live evidence or whose statements they want to form part of the written record. We should receive a list of witnesses shortly and should also receive copies of all our members’ witness statements and Form 10s.
The FBU does not wish to take any step which may undermine or prejudice the police investigation or the work of the GTI. The FBU has been asked by both the Met Police (MPS) and the GTI not to discuss the substance of the witness evidence which you have given to the police. However, we would like to meet with you together with members of our legal team. We will ensure that you have a copy of your police witness statement and your Form 10 in advance of the meeting. You will be given an opportunity to read them and if you have any concerns about what you have said, we would urge you to contact the MPS. We will have contact details for an appropriate person at MPS for you to contact.
The GTI is a legal process which will be heard, as matters stand, by a single Chairman who is a retired judge. It is subject to all the usual frustrations and limitations of such processes. Nevertheless, we believe there is potentially much we can achieve by participating fully in the inquiry which we currently understand will start on 21 May with firefighters starting to give evidence around two weeks later. In particular:
1. We can work with the Bereaved, Survivors and Residents (known by GTI as “BSRs”) and other CPs, including the LFB where possible, to get to the truth of what happened on the night and why.
2. We can help shape the findings and recommendations made by the GTI. These should include recommendations which would have an impact on the future safety of firefighters and members of the public, especially those who live in high-rise buildings or other purpose built blocks of flats.
3. More widely, we can help to shape public policy in relation to fire safety. We hope the inquiry will provide a genuine opportunity to test concerns and questions regarding the de-regulation of fire safety and the fire and rescue service. These include questions relating to the current lack of a national body with representatives of all interested parties (including the FBU) which upholds fire service standards, the reduction in fire research, the shift to localised risk management plans, the failure to implement previous recommendations (e.g. from inquests), the significant reductions in fire safety departments and other such matters.
4. We can look out for your interests as individual FBU members who attended the fire, took emergency fire control calls and were involved in fire safety work. In the event that you may be subject to criticism for any actions which you took on or before the night of the fire, we can stand up for you and defend you from unwarranted criticism.
5 . Where we share common ground with the LFB we will work with them to defend the Fire Service as a whole from unwarranted criticism, although there clearly may be differences of opinions on certain matters.
6 . If you attended Grenfell on the night or were otherwise involved, we can provide you with legal representation, advice and assistance.
7. If you have been personally affected by Grenfell and:
- need help with HR or other work related issues
- have pension or Occupational Health concerns or
- wish to consider a personal injury claim
the FBU and our legal team can help you.
Please note, although trauma affects people differently, it is very common for post-traumatic stress often to present itself sometime after the traumatic event or events.
If there is anything we can do to assist, or if you wish to be added to the FBU list of those directly involved, please contact London officials Steve White and Gareth Beeton:
Further information will be issued when available and as appropriate.