Bob Kerslake, Peabody chair and former civil service head, dies


The influential former chief govt of Sheffield Metropolis Council, ex-head of the Houses and Communities Company, and cross-bench peer died on Saturday (1 July), after a brief battle with most cancers.

A person with ‘many hats’, as he was as soon as launched to a authorities choose committee, he sat on the boards of a number of organisations concerned in regeneration and housebuilding, together with Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s in-house improvement firm.

Kerslake, who had spent six years as president of the Native Authorities Affiliation, was recognized for his vocal opinions on housing coverage.

In a single broadside in 2015, revealed within the Observer, he described the prime minister’s pledge to increase right-to-buy to housing associations as ‘flawed in precept and flawed in apply’. He wrote within the AJ, later that yr about his ‘deep issues’ in regards to the Housing & Planning Invoice then passing by means of Parliament.

In latest years, he had additionally been important of the connection between authorities and the civil service.

Former RIBA president Ben Derbyshire praised him as a ‘nice supporter for sound coverage on housing, sustainability and the constructed surroundings and at all times the voice of motive’.

Born in Bathtub, Kerslake began his profession in native authorities with the Higher London Council as a trainee finance officer. He served as chief govt of Sheffield Metropolis Council between 1997 and 2008 earlier than spending two years as head of the Houses and Communities Company.

He was knighted within the 2005 New Yr honours record for providers to native authorities.
Kerslake led the civil service between January 2012 and late 2014, throughout the cost-cutting austerity years of David Cameron’s coalition authorities.

Extra lately, nevertheless, he had been working with the Labour Get together on its preparations for the following common election.

Former Sheffield College head of structure Jeremy Until described him as an ‘extremely spectacular particular person’ who recognised ‘the distinctive character and power of town’ throughout his time because the native authority’s chief govt.

An lively member of the Lords, Kerslake additionally chaired the boards of King’s School Hospital till 2017 and Sheffield Theatres Belief in addition to chairing the UK2070 Fee.

Kerslake is survived by his spouse Anne, a son and a daughter.


Roger Hawkins, co-founder HawkinsBrown
There have been a number of events after I welcomed Bob’s clever counsel, from his assist for our proposed refurbishment of Park Hill whereas he was chief govt at Sheffield Council, to in his function on the House and Communities Company, after which as chair of Peabody whereas we labored on the Clapham Property, now Burridge Gardens.

He at all times considered the social impression of any proposal and needed to advertise options that thought-about the wants of residents.

His recommendation was typically whispered, and we knew to pay attention rigorously.

Gail Mayhew, managing director of FuturePlaces inside Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
Bob was an enormous in a world the place public service and the need to do higher for locations throughout the UK is commonly dwarfed by the maelstrom of politics.

He tirelessly championed FuturePlaces’ mission of stewardship-led regeneration as a method to safe regional renewal by means of the best customary of place-making.

His lead was at all times tempered by humour, and a deep dedication to the transformational energy of tradition to attach folks and locations. By way of his work with us – and the various different regeneration organisations he led and impressed – he leaves a legacy of public interest-led improvement and regeneration which we’re proud to take ahead.

Our ideas are with Bob’s family and friends throughout this unhappy time.

Ian McDermott, chief govt of Peabody
We’re all shocked by the unhappy information our chair handed away [on Saturday] after a brief battle with most cancers. Everybody who knew Bob was actually impressed by his distinctive expertise, robust work ethic, and above all, his humanity and kindness.

He was a exceptional particular person who labored tirelessly to enhance folks’s lives, and I really feel privileged to have had the chance to know him over the previous two years. His absence will likely be deeply felt throughout Peabody, in addition to within the sector and public life on the whole. Our ideas are together with his spouse Anne and his household.

Jeremy Until, professor of structure at Central Saint Martins, and former head of structure at Sheffield College
He was an extremely spectacular particular person. I solely actually knew him in my Sheffield days. He as soon as requested me to stroll round Sheffield with him for 3 hours – an remarkable size of time for a gathering with him his PA stated – listening whereas he requested me to inform him what I noticed, attempting to get a designer’s view on town. I talked to him in regards to the significance of the background metropolis and never simply the foreground buildings. I believe this caught. I simply want extra leaders would do that.

At Sheffield, he was an important chief, recognising the distinctive character and power of town. It was a loss when he moved on.

I then got here throughout him a number of years in the past when he joined New Economics Basis (NEF) as its chair whereas I used to be on the board. It was a pleasure to look at him in motion, manoeuvring by means of points in a decisive however empathetic manner.

We’ll all miss his latest feedback in regards to the civil service, as he defended his former colleagues from the ideological and bullying assaults from this authorities.

Curriculum vitae

Trainee finance officer on the Higher London Council

Chief govt, Sheffield Council

Chief govt, Houses & Communities Company

Everlasting secretary, Division for Communities & Native Authorities

Head of the UK Civil Service

Crossbench peer, Home of Lords
Chair, Peabody

Chair of King’s School Hospital NHS Basis Belief

President of the Native Authorities Affiliation

Chair of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration firm

Chair of the New Economics Basis,

Chair of Stockport Mayoral Improvement Company


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