Tributes pour in for Bob Kerslake former Sheffield City Council chief executive and 'true public servant'
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On Sunday morning, his sister, Ros Kerslake, tweeted: “My brother Bob (Lord Robert Kerslake) died yesterday after a short battle with cancer. We are all devastated.”
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, paid tribute, describing him as “a true public servant”.
He became chief executive of Sheffield City Council in 1997, and then the Homes and Communities Agency (now Homes England).
He was head of the civil service from January 2012 to September 2014, and continued as a permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Kerslake served as chair of King’s College hospital NHS foundation trust, before he resigned in 2017 in protest at government underfunding of hospitals.
He was also president of the Local Government Association from 2015-21 and chair of the UK2070 Commission, an independent inquiry into urban and regional inequalities in the UK.
Born in Bath, Somerset, he graduated with a mathematics degree from Warwick University and worked in local government roles before becoming chief executive of the London Borough of Hounslow, before moving to Sheffield.
He was knighted in the 2005 New Year honours list for services to local government.
He is credited with transforming Sheffield city centre as one of the prime movers behind the original Heart of the City scheme. It was the first job he faced in 1997, when the then council leader Mike Bower asked for his thoughts on the plan that led to the Peace Gardens, Millennium Gallery, Winter Garden and the offices of St Paul’s Place.