Lord Kerslake: ‘The sector has lost a supremely powerful voice’

Joey Gardiner comment pic 3

The untimely death of former Homes and Communities Agency boss and Peabody chair Lord Kerslake has left the housing sector poorer, says Joey Gardiner

At my first encounter with Lord Kerslake – at 52 already Sir Bob Kerslake – he was still running Sheffield City Council. But he had just been appointed as chief executive designate of the government’s new housing and regeneration superagency, the body that would go on to become Homes England, and it was immediately clear why this softly spoken and dryly humorous civil servant was being given the task of running a £5bn a-year start-up agency – one of the most powerful across Whitehall.

Launched in the teeth of the global financial crisis, the Homes and Communities Agency under Kerslake’s leadership was within two years funding the construction of more than half of the homes built in England – such was the vigour with which he set about his task.

Bath-born Sir, and later Lord, Bob Kerslake was someone about whom no-one in the housing sector seemingly had a bad word to say. After just two years in charge at the agency, he was brought in-house in recognition of his effectiveness to run what was then the Department for Communities and Local Government as permanent secretary.

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