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Royal borough of kensington and chelsea

61 replies

HopefulMog · 17/06/2017 20:48

"Silence: The scene at Kensington and Chelsea town hall
Donations have been arriving, but there is no one official in sight at Kensington and Chelsea town hall, as Laura Trant reports."

AIBU to be surprised that there is no one at RBKC town hall dealing with this emergency? What about distributing the goods? Where the man or woman with a plan?

I thought that we the tax payers pay the council to work for us the public.

I'm confused.

I have ranted endlessly about Theresa May today but where is Sadiq Khan? Why isn't anything being properly coordinated?

WTF is going on?

This is a humanitarian crisis. How can it be that the country I love and am proud of is not able to deal with this incident?

Also, AIBU to far that should an large scale terrorist attack happen the government would deal with it as appallingly as with the Grenfell Tower fire?


OP posts:
dementedma · 18/06/2017 08:36

The army know exactly how to deal with a humanitarian crisis - Bosnia, Sierre Leone, Ebola in several parts of Africa - and govt should be taking advice from COs of nearest regiments. However, our Armed Forces are also being cut to the bone. Technically, we don't actually have an army anymore as we don't have enough combat troops to merit that term.
I raise a wry smile when certain MNers ask to call in the Army, otherwise referred to as murderers and hired killers on political threads..

PavoReal · 18/06/2017 08:51

Echoing what others have said above about underfunded councils. Or at least the claim to be underfunded. I worked for a consultancy firm in London a few years ago, we were working with a council in Wales who had money left over one year so they bought a grand piano for their reception area so they would get granted the same amount the next budget year.

TheBogQueen · 18/06/2017 09:05

Other LA have major incident plans . They exercise for this with the emergency services and it works well.
Look st the major flooding in 2015/16 in Cumbria and parts of scotland. The rescue and relief effort was coordinated. People were accommodated.

It is shocking that this is not in place in one of London's wealthiest boroughs. wTF does that council actually do?

TM has announced that there is now a coordinated response with a helpline and people in high vis jackets on scene to help.


SquirmOfEels · 18/06/2017 09:14

The budgeting by RBKC doesn't fit the 'cash strapped council' narrative.

So to make it 'nasty Tory' it has to be about heartlessness.

So, I'm not surprised at this line of coverage.

But - question for everyone: do you know whether your council had large incident contingency procedures? How often are they updated/rehearsed?

What are your council's fire approval/inspection regimes?

(I can't see a suitable role for the military in this - what are people expecting they should do, other than turn up with enormous tents plus loos and catering equipment if there are no buildings available to be an emergency shelter)

Catminion · 18/06/2017 09:16

The Queen should strip the 'Royal' from the title and make the council earn it back.

HopefulMog · 18/06/2017 09:22

"I can't see a suitable role for the military in this"


OP posts:
TheBogQueen · 18/06/2017 09:24

You don't need the military fur this if you have a proper plan in place. That is the local authority's job.

PetraDelphiki · 18/06/2017 10:13

Their low council tax will be for the same reason as Westminster...huge amounts of business rates coming in.

Catminion · 18/06/2017 10:16

I don't think the business rate yield is huge. More than comparatively little is spent on services. Partly because of the demographics and partly because they spend as little as possible.

AmyBrookheimer · 18/06/2017 10:23

These articles raise some interesting points:

Surely it's commons sense to provide a visible contact point for advice and processing, a big marquee in a local square, for example. If it can be managed in earthquake zones it can be managed in one of the richest districts in the world.

HopefulMog · 18/06/2017 10:48

"You don't need the military fur this if you have a proper plan in place. That is the local authority's job." i completely agree but they have not done that.

From another thread


Not sure how realistic it is what Nadia is saying but it worries me.

OP posts:
mpsw · 18/06/2017 16:49

The military won't have a plan for it either.

They'll come up with one if they are asked to do so, but they'll be starting from a position of untter ignorance and little to be relevant experience.

They could be called in as military aid to the civil authorities, but that doesn't rather depend on someone being in charge and knowing which tasks to deploy them on. In London, that could be either the individual boroughs or the Mayor. I'd guess the latter, as a lot of major incident planning is cross-borough.

missymayhemsmum · 18/06/2017 20:08

Nobody will have had a plan for this. It won't have helped that most of the councillors are a month into the job, or that the focus of any emergency planning will probably have been on alert for terrorist incidents. The plan for any emergency will have been to open a rest centre in a sports hall, ring round the churches, and take it from there. There is probably one council officer who has emergency planning is one of their responsibilties, plus a London-wide planning group. There is not likely to have been an instant plan in case hundreds of people in the most expensive ward in the country suddenly got made homeless, because if there was the resources to house them, they would be housing the thousands of people on the housing list.
The 'plan' for London's housing crisis from the government was to sell off the social housing stock and force non-millionnaires out of the borough. They probably don't even know who was in the flats, because of subletting, private rentals, airbnb, visitors, even if they had the normal levels of social housing record keeping, because if you pay the rent you aren't obliged to tell anyone. The Council is trying to respond and cope, and do all the things everyone else in the borough relies on, and having hundreds of press and protestors won't make it easier. And cynically, if I was a homeless person in Kensington right now, I'd be telling the council I was made homeless by the fire.
I say this as someone who used to work next to a local authority emergency planning officer who kept a vodka bottle in her drawer. When she was off sick with stress nobody did her job. Nobody else had the security clearance to do so, for a start.

SquirmOfEels · 18/06/2017 20:12

"It won't have helped that most of the councillors are a month into the job,"

Unlikely to be true in London. The current crop of councillors were elected in 2014 (next borough elections are May 18)

Agree that most contingency planning would have been against a terrorism scenario. The Mayor leads on that, does he not? So what was he doing in the last few days?

BarbarianMum · 18/06/2017 20:24

You know all those "unnecessary " back room council staff whose jobs weren't important enough to protect. They got made redundant. So now councils don't have lots of staff willing and able to drop everything /come in at weekends and respond to crises. As for social housing - the government has been selling it off for years. There is nowhere in Kensington and Chelsea for these people to move to.

This is austerity. This is what people voted for (or allowed to happen if they didn't vote at all). Fun, isn't it?

Catminion · 18/06/2017 20:28

All the jobs I have seen advertised in RBKC other than high level are fixed term contracts and relatively low paid.

DH used to work for them but got out in time. Most of his colleagues were forced to apply for lower grade jobs if they wanted to stay.

A shit employer as well as their other vile attributes.

BarbarianMum · 18/06/2017 20:39

It's the same all across the country cat. I've got friends who had their hours cut/their salaries cut. One who's had to reapply for her job every year for the last 3 years as they shrink the pool of staff that carry out her function. And what happens is that anyone half decent or with a modicum of choice has taken redundancy and left. Only the desperate or the dreadful stay.

Bunbunbunny · 18/06/2017 20:49

Most local authority jobs are fixed contracts keeps the cost down & can get rid of staff quickly

RBKC are a terrible employer if you are not high up, I know quite a few people that have been made redundant by then in the last few weeks.

NoLoveofMine · 18/06/2017 20:51

I read somewhere that another London borough, mine as it happens, has taken over the management of this tragic incident. Does anyone know if this is the case/what's happened in terms of that?

ForalltheSaints · 18/06/2017 20:54

The person who mentioned about outsourcing and therefore not that many staff to be able to help in a crisis probably was near to the truth. Also local authority staff often do not live near council offices so may be less willing to come and help, or indeed to an extent able. It's not just at the weekend that RKBC seem to have been silent.

edwinbear · 18/06/2017 21:00

Kensington and Chelsea just voted in a Labour MP did they not? You're right, what exactly is Emma Dent Coad doing to support her constituency right now?

NoLoveofMine · 18/06/2017 21:03

Kensington has a Labour MP yes (Chelsea and Fulham is a different constituency). As far as I know Emma Dent Coad has been very vocal in standing up for residents for some time especially those in social housing.

edwinbear · 18/06/2017 21:05

I'm sure she has been. She was after all on the housing committee when the plans were signed off

scaryteacher · 18/06/2017 21:11

Demendetma I think a field kitchen would have sorted out feeding people, and had they been able to get medics there, then they could have helped with minor injuries. It's not like they don't have recent experience with that one!

BigChocFrenzy · 18/06/2017 21:20

With 40 Tories and 7 Labour councillors, it would be like in Parliament, where a party with a large majority sets policy and outvotes the rest

If a Tory govt has moved the responsibility of caring for its residents from Kensington to a Labour council (Ealing ?) that actually a brave decision by May or whoever,
but a devastating indictment of Kensington council that they are incapable of fulfilling a core responsibility.

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