KPMG to stand down from its advisory role in Grenfell inquiry after facing backlash

Accountancy firm KPMG has confirmed it will no longer play a part in its advisory role within the Grenfell Tower inquiry after campaigners raised concerns that its appointment created a conflict of interest. 

Campaigners had called on the government to reverse its decision to appoint the firm as advisors after it was claimed it clearly failed disclose a clear conflict of interest. It referred to KPMG auditing Celotex, the company that provided the flammable cladding, the Rydon Group, responsible for refurbishing the cladding and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where the Grenfell Tower is located.

Celebrities, politicians and campaigners were among the many that signed an open letter for the government to re-think its decision. The letter published by campaign group Research for Action, said: “We the undersigned, call upon the cabinet office and Prime Minister Theresa May to reverse the decision to appoint KPMG as advisors to the Grenfell Tower inquiry, without competition. The failure of KPMG to disclose a clear conflict of interest – that KPMG audit Celotex, the parent company which produced the flammable cladding, alongside its role as auditors of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and Rydon Group, the principal contractor, raises serious questions about the professionalism of KPMG and its ability to define and serve the public interest.”

KPMG has now said that it had mutually agreed with the inquiry to step down from its role. A spokesman added: “We were appointed to advise on structuring a project management office for the Grenfell Tower public inquiry.  Our role was purely operational and advised on project management best practice and had no role advising on the substance of the inquiry. We will waive our fees for our work undertaken to date.”

The Grenfell Tower fire killed 71 people on June 14 2017. The public inquiry is being chaired by retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick with many residents already critical about the lack of diversity in the inquiry process.

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