Former UK civil service head to chair public scrutiny charity

By on 03/06/2015
Lord Kerslake is the new chair of the Centre for Public Scrutiny

Bob Kerslake, the former head of the UK civil service, has been appointed chair of the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS), a charity which provides publicly-funded organisations with analysis on good governance, scrutiny and accountability.

The appointment of Lord Kerslake, who previously also headed up the Department of Communities and Local Government, was announced by CfPS yesterday, according to the Local Government Chronicle (LGC).

He also chairs Kings College Hospital Foundation Trust and the housing association Peabody, making this the third chairmanship he is taking up since leaving the civil service in February.

Writing for LGC, Lord Kerslake said: “Since leaving the civil service I’ve been keen to find ways to fight for the causes I believe in most. I am delighted to take on the role of chair of the Centre for Public Scrutiny.

“This small independent charity reflects my passionate belief that decision making needs to involve and be responsive to those most affected.”

His departure from government was first revealed on the evening of 14 July last year after unnamed government sources told a BBC programme that Kerslake was to be removed. The programme suggested that it was Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude who had levered Kerslake out of the job.

The leak was followed by a morning of confusion at the Cabinet Office, which could not confirm or deny the news for several hours.

At the same time, Kerslake told an audience at Civil Service Live – an event for UK civil servants – that he was stepping down and took the opportunity to speak out against anonymous briefings against civil servants, which damage both ministers and officials.

Three hours later, the Cabinet Office put out an official statement announcing that Kerslake was stepping down and that a new chief executive of the civil service – a role now filled by former BP chief John Manzoni – would lead on civil service reform.

In the statement Kerslake said that it had been ” “an honour to serve as head of the civil service over the last two and a half years” and that he was “enormously proud of all that has been achieved during my time as head of the civil service and permanent secretary at DCLG.”

The statement also included a comment from prime minister David Cameron who gave his “sincere thanks to Bob Kerslake for his long and distinguished public service”, and from former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg who also paid tribute to Kerslake’s achievements as a public servant.

The press release did not include a comment from Francis Maude, Kerslake’s boss at the Cabinet Office.

Kerslake had been a public servant for more than 35 years, joining government as the head of the Homes & Communities Agency after a long stint as chief executive of Sheffield City Council.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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