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The Grenfell inquiry lacks the people’s trust – and without that it will fail

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Three months after the horrific fire, the Grenfell inquiry begins. But even at the outset, there are significant concerns that justice will not be served. There is a fear that those most affected will not get a seat at the table. This is crucial. Without building trust in the inquiry process, and placing victims, survivors and their families at the heart of the process, it will be doomed to failure.

Survivors hoping to witness Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s opening statement at the Grenfell Tower inquiry will need to get to the Connaught Rooms early on Thursday morning. The venue has a capacity of 200: there were 900 homes on the Lancaster West estate alone. Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

The inquiry website states that preference will be given to “affected individuals”, yet makes no provision for determining who these individuals are or how the inquiry team will manage the process. What if the room fills up with journalists or campaigners before survivors and family members arrive? Will local residents need to bring ID? Public meetings in the area around Grenfell have been busy, with lots of people affected wanting to take part. There have been shocking failures with local meetings, most notably when survivors were locked out of a council chamber where they had been invited to testify. Although arrangements have been made for screenings elsewhere, justice will not be served if those who should be at the heart of the process do not attend because they are unsure they will get in.

“We’ve done this before,” said one officer. But they have never done anything quite like........

© The Guardian