Tributes paid to Lord Kerslake
Hailed as a “giant of regeneration” and “true champion of public service”, Lord Bob Kerslake has died at the age of 68.
News of Kerslake’s death emerged yesterday when his sister Ros tweeted that “my brother Bob (Lord Robert Kerslake) died yesterday after a short battle with cancer. We are all devastated”. The announcement prompted numerous tributes from those who knew and worked with him.
Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer was among those to pay tributes to Kerslake. Starmer, like many others, described Kerslake as a “talented public servant.”
Kerslake began his Northern public service career in Sheffield, where he was chief executive from 1997 to 2008. Later, he became the first chief executive of Homes England forerunner the Homes & Communities Agency, before becoming permanent secretary of the Department for Communities & Local Government. He also served as head of the civil service between 2012 and 2014.
Also having a spell as chair of the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust between 2014 and 2017, Kerslake was put forward for a peerage in 2015 – a decade after being knighted.
More recently, he chaired the UK2070 Commission on regional inequalities. In 2020, he called on the government to invest an extra £200bn over the next 20 years to support growth outside of London.
Kerslake also led the inquiry into the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, commissioned by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
In his role as chair of the Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation, he recently appeared at UKREiiF in Leeds this May to announce English Cities Fund as the winner of a competition to redevelop an eight-acre chunk of the town centre into a 1,200-home neighbourhood.
Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council said Kerslake had made “an immense contribution to public life in both central and local government over many years” and hailed his “exemplary” chairing of Stockport MDC.
“With a contacts book second to none, Bob was a high-profile and powerful ambassador for the transformation of our town centre and our ambitious regeneration programme,” Hunter said.
“Scrupulously fair, objective, and always far-sighted, he made a massive difference and leaves a lasting legacy for us all. We will miss him terribly.”
A selection of tributes to Lord Kerslake:
Tom Stannard, Salford City Council chief executive: Kerslake was “a giant of regeneration and a lifelong friend and advocate of public services and local government”.
Joanne Anderson, former Mayor of Liverpool: “[I am] deeply saddened by the loss of Bob Kerslake, a true champion of public service. His wisdom, dedication, and relentless pursuit of positive change have left an indelible mark. May his legacy inspire us to continue working towards a better world. Rest in peace, Bob Kerslake.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region: [I am] truly sorry to hear of Bob Kerslake’s passing. He was a great champion of fairness and equity – and few did more to push the devolution agenda.
“I was lucky enough to work with him over a number of years and he was always a wise and willing ear to consult. May he rest in peace.”
Gerry Hughes, former European president at Avison Young: “Bob was simply an amazing human being. It was my privilege to know him. His contribution and impact have been profound.”