Local government minister John Healey has been named the most powerful person in the LGC50 the inaugural chart of people that have greatest influence on councils.
Mr Healey pipped Sir Simon Milton (Con), the Local Government Association chairman, and communities and local government secretary Hazel Blears to the hotly contested number one spot.
His triumph was revealed last Thursday during a glittering reception at County Hall the former citadel of the Greater London Council and was sponsored by Amey and Solace Enterprises.
Three chief executives made the Top 10. Lewisham LBC’s Barry Quirk occupies the number four slot, Sheffield City Council’s Sir Robert Kerslake made it to eight and Manchester City Council’s Sir Howard Bernstein came tenth.
Others in the Top 10 included London mayor Ken Living-stone; Audit Commission chief executive Steve Bundred; children, schools and families secretary Ed Balls; and LGC columnist Tony Travers, director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics.
The judging panel decided Mr Healey’s links to the prime minister and the impact of his sub-national economic development review could set the tone for the devolution of power.
Mr Healey described his ranking as a “real honour”.
“If being number one means people think I have the most ‘influence’ as a central government minister, then my challenge is to see next year’s LGC50 filled with more people actually working in local government, leading their communities and delivering top-quality local services,” he said.
The judges, including former LGA chief executive Sir Brian Briscoe, described compiling the list as “tough”. LGC editor Karen Day said: “This list has not been easy and will no doubt result in one or two disagreements, but we believe it shows who is making an impact on local government.”
LGC50 is to be an annual event, reflecting the changing influences on councils.