Hackney Council has scrapped a post-Grenfell pledge to publish a final report by independent experts on the cladding used on its tower blocks.
In the wake of the tragic events of 14 June last year, when a fire at Grenfell Tower killed 71 people, the Town Hall commissioned a review by Cladtech Associates.
The council promised to publish Cladtech’s final report, which it said in July was “currently being written”, on its website.
The Town Hall then told the Citizen in September that Cladtech was “finalising the report” and that it hoped to publish it “by the end of the year”.
But the council has now revealed that it will not be asking Cladtech to even produce the report, partly to save money and partly because its fire safety work has since “progressed considerably”, meaning the findings would be “out of date”.
The Town Hall instead provided the Citizen with a copy of Cladtech’s initial review, and said the recommendations have been made public in the form of letters to residents living in four blocks at Lincoln Court and Hugh Gaitskell House.
Cladding is to be replaced at those blocks after Cladtech advised they be looked at more closely. Two further inspections by council contractors found that the cladding failed to meet modern safety standards.
Darren Martin, vice-chair of Hackney Liberal Democrats, said: “The decision to not publish the findings of the independent report, as the council promised to do, is massively disappointing and runs the risk of undoing much of the good work done in Hackney on fire safety by creating a suspicion that they may be hiding something.”
Martin added: “Unfortunately the council has approached certain aspects of fire safety since Grenfell as more of box-ticking exercise than an opportunity to build trust through openness and transparency.”
The council refused to say when it made the decision not to request Cladtech’s final report, or why it told the Citizen on several occasions that it was being written.
A spokesperson said: “While it was intended that Cladtech would produce a final report to present their findings and recommendations, our fire safety work has since progressed considerably and we’ve already completed the work they recommended.
“Rather than commission an out-of-date report, we have taken other measures to keep residents up to date through letters, updates in Hackney Today and on our website, and a second report summarising our work to date will go to cabinet later this month.”
The spokesperson said residents of blocks where work is taking place have already been notified, adding: “We have therefore not asked Cladtech to produce a final report as this would not include any additional information or recommendations, but remain committed to being transparent and proactive in ensuring all our homes and estates are safe.”
The council also changed its mind last year on historical fire risk assessments, which they originally planned to release before deciding against it.