Government orders taskforce to take over key services at RBKC

5 Jul 17

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea faces government intervention in the wake of its much-criticised response to the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has taken the rare step of forming a taskforce to take over aspects of the council’s work.

He stopped short though of designating commissioners to take over the authority’s entire functions.

Javid said in a parliamentary statement that the terms of the intervention had been agreed with the council.

He said: “I will appoint an independent recovery taskforce with the experience and skills to advise the council on the longer term recovery needs.

“The remit of the recovery taskforce is to provide advice and practical and strategic support to RBKC.

"It will work alongside the council to make sure that they have the manpower, expertise and resources necessary to take on the longer term recovery work beyond the immediate civil emergency response.”

The taskforce’s chair and members will report to Javid. They are yet to be named, but “will be in place for as long as is required”.

Taskforce members will focus on housing, regeneration and community engagement but will also “consider the governance of the council and the way that it operates to ensure it is able to provide effective leadership through trying and difficult circumstances”.

Kensington & Chelsea’s new leader Elizabeth Campbell said the council could not cope alone with the scale of disaster recovery.

“That’s why my first action as leader was to ask DCLG for help, and I’m delighted they have been so swift to respond,” she said.

“I look forward to working with their staff as we all concentrate our efforts on healing the wounds in the north of our borough and to regain the trust of a community traumatised by disaster.”

The immediate response to the disaster is being coordinated by the Grenfell Response Team, headed by City of London Corporation chief executive John Barradell.

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