LGC100: 100-50 in local government’s powerlist
The LGC100 identifies the most influential people whose work will shape local government in 2017. Our list includes officers, members, national politicians, civil servants and thinkers.
The list was compiled using nominations from the public, the LGC editorial team and a panel of judges. Read more about how we compiled the list here.
100 Nick King, special adviser, Department for Communities & Local Government
Sajid Javid’s spad has extensive experience as a policy adviser and as a political and communications consultant. He has worked with Mr Javid for four years.
99 Siôn Simon, Labour mayoral candidate, West Midlands Combined Authority
Our judges’ placement of Mr Simon reflected the fact Labour victory in the West Midlands is far from a foregone conclusion. The MEP nevertheless could have a real opportunity to offer political leadership for a region that has so long failed to punch above its weight.
98 Andrew Percy, Northern Powerhouse minister, Department for Communities & Local Government
Our judges were uncertain about the influence of a Northern Powerhouse minister after the demise of George Osborne led to perceptions his pet project is in decline. Should Mr Percy overcome these, he will be far higher than 98 in next year’s list.
97 Will Tanner, public service reform advisor, 10 Downing Street
The former researcher at the thinktank Reform follows Theresa May from the Home Office, where he was a special adviser, into Number 10. Months into the May premiership there is relatively little clarity about the relative importance of those in her back team.
96 Edward Timpson, minister for vulnerable children and families, Department for Education
Mr Timpson faces a busy 2017. The focus on vulnerable children will continue as directors of children’s services warn of rising need, councils are likely to struggle to place asylum-seeking children and Parliament considers the Children’s Social Work Bill, to which MPs may still insert controversial clauses removing restrictions on profit in children’s services.
95 Damian Green, work and pensions secretary, Department for Work & Pensions
The LGC100 judges labelled benefits reform “one of the biggest ticking time-bombs” facing the government. Next year the rollout of universal credit will continue and there will be reform to social housing rents. Some of the success of these depends on Mr Green, in-post since July, and his ability to grasp the nettle.
94 Sir Stephen Houghton (Lab), leader, Barnsley MBC
Sir Stephen has his work cut out to keep the Sheffield City Region’s devolution on track after it was buffeted by a judicial review of plans to include parts of Derbyshire and a row over the HS2 route. He also heads the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities, whose members’ financially-challenged needs must be represented in business rate negotiations.
93 Steve Rotheram, Labour mayoral candidate, Liverpool City Region
Jeremy Corbyn’s parliamentary secretary is firm favourite to become the first elected mayor of the Liverpool City Region. Mr Rotheram is set to gain control of bus services and a devolved local transport budget, as well as strategic planning.
92 Judith Blake (Lab), leader, Leeds City Council
91 Neil Clarke (Con), chairman, District Councils’ Network
Sajid Javid’s interest in possible unitary local government in Buckinghamshire raises the spectre of reorganisation in other areas too. In his final months in the DCN’s top role Mr Clarke could again have to represent district interests at a time of turmoil.
90 Darra Singh, partner, EY
Mr Singh headed the independent commission that in 2015 demanded full business rate retention and more devolution, some of which is happening now. This year his report on restructuring and cost efficiency for the County Councils Network threw a cat among the pigeons.
89 Brandon Lewis, police and fire minister, Home Office
The previously long-serving Department for Communities & Local Government minister has moved to the Home Office. Our judges speculated Mr Lewis’s experience could prove valuable in helping determine the relationship between combined authorities and policing.
88 Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, Department of Health
Mr Hunt has been through a bruising year in the face of junior doctors’ strikes and some opposition to the NHS’s sustainability and transformation plan programme. It is clear that the unusually long-serving health secretary wishes to leave a legacy. Whether his efforts to make the NHS more sustainable and to oversee true integration between health and care will work remains to be seen.
87 Alexandra Jones, chief executive, Centre for Cities
Ms Jones continues to lobby for more powers to be devolved to cities while she will also be an influential figure as government develops its industrial strategy. Ms Jones also sits on the revitalised London Finance Commission.
86 Ed Cox, director, IPPR North
The former DCLG adviser’s analysis of the economy of the north and particularly the north-south divide is seen as definitive and his criticism of central government’s failure to put in place policies that will level the playing field have been scathingly memorable.
85 Chris Ham, chief executive, The King’s Fund
The influential King’s Fund sets the agenda on health and Professor Ham has increasingly been a champion of local government and the need for more social care funding.
84 Charlie Parker, chief executive, Westminster City Council
Mr Parker joined Westminster in 2013 from Oldham MBC. He has argued for localised business rates and called repeatedly for better collaboration between the public and private sectors to drive inclusive growth.
83 Bob Sleigh, leader, Solihull MBC
As the sole Tory leader on the West Midlands Combined Authority, Cllr Sleigh could prove to be a key conduit between councillors and the elected mayor should Conservative candidate Andy Street triumph.
82 Sean Nolan, local government adviser, Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy
Brought in to bolster Cipfa’s local government team during a critical couple of years for the future of local government finance, Mr Nolan has 30 years’ experience in senior public finance roles, including long stints at Buckinghamshire and East Sussex CCs. He is Cipfa’s representative on the steering group advising government on the design of the 100% business rates retention system.
81 Matthew Style, director, local government finance, Department for Communities & Local Government
Generally well regarded in the sector, Mr Style will need to employ plenty of diplomacy this year when the department’s fair funding review gets underway in earnest this year.
80 Guy Ware, interim director of finance, performance and procurement, London Councils
Mr Ware caused a stir earlier this year when he proposed that London should keep hold of 100% of the business rates raised in the capital. The former Lambeth and Enfield LBCs director of finance who has also done a stint in central government is heavily involved in negotiating the capital’s business rates pilot which could influence the final design of the scheme.
79 Fiona Hill, joint chief of staff, 10 Downing Street
Theresa May’s closest political and media adviser has a non-traditional background for a member of the Tory backroom team. Fiercely loyal to her boss, the former Daily Record football writer is regarded as someone who can bend the PM’s ear.
78 Ravi Govindia (Con), leader, Wandsworth LBC
Cllr Govindia is a mover and shaker in London housing development, as a member of the mayor’s Homes for Londoners initiative and the prime minister’s estates regeneration task force. Wandsworth has also claimed to have the ‘strongest housing offer’ in the capital.
77 Peter Fleming (Con), leader, Sevenoaks DC
Also the deputy chairman of the Local Government Association, Cllr Fleming is an outspoken proponent of council improvement, use of new technology, and financial independence from central government.
76 Stephen Dorrell, chair, NHS Confederation
The former health secretary has made his voice heard during the formation of sustainability and transformation plans, calling for local flexibility, and repeatedly warned the government that both health and social care must be better funded to survive.
75 Sean Anstee (Con), leader, Trafford MBC
The Conservative’s candidate at next year’s Greater Manchester mayoral election, Cllr Anstee is a vice chair of the region’s combined authority and is portfolio lead for skills, employment and worklessness. He is also a Local Government Association deputy chair.
74 Debbie Ward, chief executive, Dorset CC
Without tempting fate, there is scope for Ms Ward and her colleagues in greater Dorset’s local government to agree reorganisation amid relatively cordial relations. Ms Ward is also due to become the lead officer of the Association of County Council Chief Executives at a time county resources have never been under more strain.
73 Amyas Morse, comptroller and auditor general, National Audit Office
The NAO has this year assessed financial health and accountability in adult social care and local enterprise partnerships, and will next year scrutinise business rate retention plans. Judges said under Mr Morse the NAO has become “more like the Audit Commission used to be”.
72 John Sinnott, chief executive, Leicestershire CC
Leicestershire CC is creating a combined authority, forging ahead with its bid for a devolution deal without an elected mayor. Should it succeed Mr Sinnott will be running an authority that is a blueprint for county devolution.
71 Simon Ridley, director general for decentralisation, Department for Communities & Local Government
Mr Ridley took up his role in September 2015, having spent the previous five years as director of local government finance. He is tasked with furthering meaningful decentralisation that leads to local economic growth.
70 David Hodge, Conservative group leader, Local Government Association
The Surrey CC leader’s complaints about housing policy and county finance have been listened to by some in government but this has not been sufficient to bring about major policy change. When the Tory leader of the leafiest of shires talks hardship, you know times are tough in local government.
69 Simon Henig (Lab), leader, Durham CC
As Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland seek a breakaway devolution deal, the North East Combined Authority’s former chair could be the region’s unifying figure after its original agreement collapsed. Cllr Henig is also the Association of Labour Councillors’ chair.
68 Gavin Jones, chief executive, Essex CC
Mr Jones, who worked in the air industry before going to Swindon BC, is seen as an innovator in local government. As chair of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers he will seek to work alongside president Jo Miller to make a case for fairness to councils.
67 Ray James, director of health, housing and adult social care, Enfield LBC
Mr James is director of adult services at Enfield LBC, and although he is now immediate past president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, rather than president, he is maintaining his role in voicing the sector’s complaints that the government is not doing enough to fund care.
66 Richard Humphries, senior fellow, The King’s Fund
Mr Humphries has since 2009 led on social care across the NHS and local government at this health sector think tank. He specialises long-term care funding and integration of health and social care.
65 Kersten England, chief executive, Bradford MDC
Ms England, is lead chief executive for innovation and growth in the Leeds City Region – which has so far shunned the elected mayor path. All eyes will also be on her diverse metropolitan district as debate continues about the Casey Review on cohesion.
64 Gillian Beasley, chief executive, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire CC
Is it humanly possible to serve as chief executive of a unitary and a county council at the same time? Ms Beasley’s ability to withstand the pressures will help answer this. Her role will also be keenly watched after her area became one of the few bits of non-metropolitan England to opt for an elected mayor.
63 Norman Lamb, chair, West Midlands commission on mental health
The Liberal Democrat made a huge impact as social care minister in the coalition government. He now gains an opportunity to put his ideas on mental health into action in another financially constrained environment, for the West Midlands Combined Authority, with his report due early in 2017.
62 Sharon Taylor (Lab), leader, Stevenage BC
A key voice for Labour among the Tory-dominated districts and an executive member of the District Councils Network, Cllr Taylor has led Stevenage since 2006. She was named leader of the year in November by the Local Government Information Unit.
61 Heather Wakefield, head of local government service group, Unison
A major review of the local government pay spine will begin in earnest in 2017 and as the representative for the largest unionised group of council staff Ms Wakefield will have a key role in developing proposals.
60 Chris Wormald, permanent secretary, Department of Health
Mr Wormald’s career in the civil service has included posts at the Department for Education, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Communities & Local Government. The judges said his practical contribution to health reform has been and will continue to be felt.
59 Tom Scholar, permanent secretary, Treasury
Mr Scholar has big shoes to fill, replacing long-serving permanent secretary Nick Macpherson (number six in last year’s list). He was previously then-chancellor Gordon Brown’s private secretary in the early years of the New Labour government before working for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
58 David McNulty, chief executive, Surrey CC
As well as being the chief executive of a powerful county, Mr McNulty is also chair of the largest of the three sustainability and transformation plan areas in Surrey, Heartlands.
57 Sarah Wollaston (Con), chair, commons health committee
The former GP is seen as a Tory moderate who has helped lead the case for more funding for social care within her parliamentary party.
56 Matthew Taylor, chief executive, RSA
The former Warwickshire CC councillor and head of Tony Blair’s Downing Street policy unit is a bold innovator. He has been asked by the prime minister to lead a review into modern employment.
55 Isabelle Trowler, chief social worker for children, Department for Education
Her role at the Department for Education grants Ms Trowler a large sway over policy in children’s services, and the LGC100 judges said Ms Trowler is also “hugely personally influential”.
54 Howard Bernstein, chief executive, Manchester City Council
Sir Howard might be retiring from the role he has held since 1998 but LGC’s judges felt he was unlikely to fade into the background on local economic issues. If devolution is to thrive, it is likely Sir Howard will be influential, at least behind the scenes.
53 Becky Shaw, chief executive, East Sussex CC
Chief executive at East Sussex since 2010, Ms Shaw is also deputy policy spokesperson on leadership and learning for Solace. She has been working on ways to help more women become chief executives.
52 Michael Heseltine, Conservative peer
The Conservative peer remains influential within the Department for Communities & Local Government and beyond. He was used to bang heads together in an unsuccessful attempt to keep East Anglia’s devo deal on track and his experience will surely come in handy in other efforts to avoid devolution pitfalls over the coming year.
51 Barry Quirk, chief executive, Lewisham LBC
Mr Quirk has been in office at Lewisham since 1993. Among the best-known of chief executives he is a noted expert in running elections and an academic, writing regular papers including his latest on driving economic success in cities.
50 Jeremy Heywood, cabinet secretary, Cabinet Office
The head of the civil service’s role in relation to local government may be indirect. Nevertheless he will be a key player in helping to ensure Brexit does not swamp the entire machinery of government.