The government has failed to engage with the results of a key product testing review that itself had commissioned, one of the report’s authors told a Commons select committee this week.
The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee questioned Paul Morrell OBE and Anneliese Day KC on Monday (27 November) during an evidence session as part of its ongoing work on fire and building safety.
Morrell, the former government chief construction adviser, and Day are the co-authors of the Independent Review of the Construction Products Testing Regime.
The review was commissioned by the government to examine how the UK’s system for testing the safety of construction products could be strengthened, following the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire.
The committee of MPs questioned them on the findings of their review and on the delay in the government issuing its response to it.
“There hasn’t been any engagement with government until last week,” Morrell told the select committee during the 90-minute session.
He confirmed that the review was “largely completed at the end of 2021”. There followed a year of review with DLUHC before it was finalised at the end of 2022 and the report was finally published in April 2023.
Morrell said there was a meeting on the day of the review’s publication, “and until last week, that was the only engagement we’ve had”.
By contrast, Day noted that the industry engaged with the review in June.
As the session continued, Morrell added: “The original terms of reference, which were quite important to me, was that [the review] would be published and there would be a government response.
“When I asked a few months ago, September I think, when I could expect to see the response, the answer I got then was that ‘our public position is that there will not be a response’ and they referred me to the secretary of state’s press release at the time the report was published, which said words to the effect of ‘we will issue recommendations for reform, building on this report, in due course’. [This] is a disappointment.”
Morrell revealed that he had been told that “a prospectus for reform will be issued before or after Christmas”.
He added that he would like to have had a dialogue with DLUHC about the review’s recommendations and DLUHC’s response to each of them.
Day added: “Certainly the impression I was given was that there was general acceptance recommendations in the [review].”
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