Essex County Council is making progress against a raft of actions recommended by an independent panel set up to look at fire safety across the Council’s properties following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
A cross-party Independent Property Review Commission (IPRC) published its report in February this year.
The Panel was chaired by Andy Fry OBE, the former Chief Fire Officer of Suffolk and of Berkshire, and made recommendations concerning cladding and general fire safety standards across buildings owned by the council and also third parties.
Mr Fry and his team visited sites, heard evidence from experts and scrutinised written information, before drawing conclusions and making recommendations.
Key recommendations for the Council to act on included:
- The Council should take urgent action to ensure appropriate steps are taken to address fire safety issues in third-party owned high-rise residential care homes fitted with potentially hazardous cladding where ECC places residents
- The Council should introduce ‘sample auditing’ to check the suitability of fire risk assessments in third-party operated care homes where it has residents
- Guidance should be issued to all Council-maintained schools and third-party run residential care homes to make sure the implications of potentially hazardous cladding are assessed, managed and shared with other schools
- Clear arrangements should be out in place for ad hoc specialist advice on complex fire safety issues
- Essex County Fire and Rescue Service should be involved at an early stage in building design in all construction projects worth over £2m
- Property protection and business continuity risk assessments should be an integral part of all future design briefs for new buildings.
A report to Full Council to be discussed tomorrow (Tuesday 15th May) details progress against the 14 recommendations.
Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “The Grenfell tragedy’s legacy must not be that local authorities failed to learn lessons and heed warnings.
“I am grateful to Andy Fry and the Independent Commission for their work. It was a thorough examination of our estate and property portfolio.
“The report praises much in our approach and intentions and contains actions which we are now undertaking or will undertake.
“Some of those actions involve us working with third parties, but we must ensure this happens if we are to ensure that our employees, schoolchildren and vulnerable adults live and work in buildings which are even safer in the future than today.”
Notes to editors:
Council paper 15 May 2018
Independent Property Review Commission Report.
Members of the IPRC
- Independent Chairman Andy Fry OBE
- Cllr Lesley Wagland
- Cllr Michael Hardware
- Cllr Anthony Jackson
- Cllr Julie Young
- Cllr Barry Aspinell
- Cllr Chris Pond