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Manchester attack: Kerslake calls for families charter


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AFP

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Emergency services, NHS staff and Victoria station staff are among those who have contributed to the review

Greater Manchester should commit to a charter for families bereaved through public tragedy, according to the review into the Manchester Arena attack.

Lord Kerslake’s progress report into the bombing said public bodies should adopt the charter proposed by Bishop James Jones’ Hillsborough review.

Twenty-two people died when Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb after an Ariane Grande concert on 22 May.

Lord Kerslake’s full review is set to be published in March.

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GMCA

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Lord Kerslake is the former head of the civil service

The review was commissioned by Mayor Andy Burnham to assess Greater Manchester’s readiness for the attack and look at the response of the city’s agencies and emergency services.

More than 170 people, including young people who were at the concert, have participated in the review via a phone line set up by charity NSPCC.

The panel has also spoken to members of the emergency services and public bodies involved in the attack.

The progress report said more than 400 documents have been submitted and the panel is also looking into the role of both mainstream and social media.

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Getty Images

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St Ann’s Square in Manchester became the focus of tributes after the attack

Lord Kerslake said bereaved families and those injured have been put “at the heart” of the report.

He said: “The panel wants to ensure that the ethos of putting families first isn’t lost following this tragedy or in the future, that’s why we are recommending Greater Manchester adopts the Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy introduced as part of the Right Reverend Jones report.”

He said the review has given everyone the chance to “share their experiences of that dreadful night and the days that followed”.

Lord Kerslake added: “We really wanted in this review to tell the story from the point of view of the bereaved and the injured and clearly a lot of the media handled things respectfully, but there were some occasions where they really didn’t.

“We want to look at what can we learn from this, it’s all about the way in which people behave, the respect with which they treat those caught up in these terrible events.”

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Stuart Murray’s stepson Martyn Hett was killed in the Arena attack

Stuart Murray, whose stepson Martyn Hett was killed in the arena attack, said: “The media found the addresses of our children who don’t live at home and also some of Martyn’s friends.

“His flatmate got people knocking and this was before we even had news and confirmation of what had happened.

“It makes you angry and cautious how you would deal with the media thereafter. That’s not the way to make an impression if you want to work with the family or be involved with them. It’s not a good way to start.

“Overall I think we’ve been looked after fantastically by everybody involved, but there’s always going to be lessons to be learned.”

Mr Burnham has urged for public bodies in Greater Manchester to sign up to the charter and “provide their fullest cooperation” to the panel.

Previously, Bishop Jones said the charter compels public bodies to approach public inquiries and inquests in an “open, honest and transparent way”.



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