LGC100: 100-50 in local government’s powerlist
The LGC100 identifies the most influential people whose work will shape local government in 2018. 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 Steven Pleasant, chief executive, Tameside MBC
As well as bringing success to his own council area, Steven Pleasant also chairs the Greater Manchester health and social care commissioning board and leads on social care sector-led improvement for the north-west.
99 Tim Bowles (Con), mayor, West of England CA
Thrust into the limelight from South Gloucestershire Council’s backbenches, Tim Bowles has been relatively quiet in comparison to other mayors. His powers are more limited than his counterparts though which could make it harder for him to address housing and infrastructure issues.
98 Chris Read (Lab), leader, Rotherham MBC
Chris Read is both leader of one of England’s most notorious (and rapidly recovering) councils and chair of Sheffield City Region CA, which is due to have mayoral elections in 2018. He has recently signalled willingness to consider joining a pan-Yorkshire devolved body at some point.
97 Rob Walsh, chief executive, North East Lincolnshire Council and CCG
As the relationship between health and local government nationally becomes ever more fraught, North East Lincolnshire is an exemplar in promoting local unity. This was emphasised by Rob Walsh also taking on the chief’s role at its CCG.
96 Ben Houchen (Con), mayor, Tees Valley CA
Ben Houchen’s surprise victory in Tees Valley has made him one of the Conservative stars of devolution. Some might predict his success in a previously Labour area could see him rise to a far loftier position in next year’s LGC100.
95 Steve Rotheram (Lab), mayor, Liverpool City Region CA
After what was perceived to have been a slow start following his election in June, Steve Rotheram has recently attempted to raise his profile and gain political momentum by announcing 10 major policy pledges in November.
94 Neil Couling, director general – universal credit programme, Department for Work & Pensions
Despite some recent government concessions over universal credit, Mr Couling will play a central role as the controversial new benefits system is further rolled out this year.
93 Jake Berry, Northern Powerhous and local growth minister
Jake Berry is charged with convincing councils of the government’s vision of devolution and persuading them to bid for deals involving mayors.
92 Kersten England, chief executive, Bradford MDC
Bradford MDC’s chief has taken a leading role in innovation and growth across West Yorkshire. She is also a trustee of the innovation foundation Nesta.
91 Gavin Barwell, chief of staff, 10 Downing Street
Gavin Barwell impressed when, as a minister, he held the housing brief. There are hopes that as chief of staff he can keep housing high on the prime minister’s priority list.
90 Damian Hinds, education secretary
All eyes will be on the former employment minister, who has a relatively low profile, to see whether he will nurture or disrupt the improved relationship that developed between his department and local government under his predecessor .
89 Martin Tett (Con), leader, Buckinghamshire CC
Cllr Tett heads the Local Government Association environment, economy, housing and transport board, making him its key spokesman on some of the most politically contentious subjects.
88 David Simmons (Con), leader, Conservative group, Local Government Association
Hillingdon LBC’s deputy leader billed himself as the unity candidate to beat Paul Carter in the ballot to determine the Tories’ top LGA figure. His work will be cut out ensuring unity as the fairer funding review could open up divisions between Tory authorities.
87 Dominic Campbell, managing director, FutureGov
The judges said Dominic Campbell is listened to keenly by local government on sector-wide digital issues. The list of local authorities working with FutureGov on digital initiatives is growing.
86 Theo Blackwell, chief digital officer, Greater London Authority
Theo Blackwell’s appointment as London’s first chief digital officer was met with excitement from technology proponents. The judges called it the “biggest digital job in local government”. His work will shape digital initiatives across the sector.
85 Darra Singh, partner, EY
EY’s well-connected government and public sector practice lead is an authoritative voice on local government funding.
84 Alison Michalska, corporate director of children and families, Nottingham City Council
The outgoing Association of Directors of Children’s Services president has used LGC columns and public speeches to make powerful arguments in favour of early intervention and better mental health provision in children’s services.
83 Lesley Seary, chief executive, Islington LBC
Islington LBC’s well-regarded chief executive has been particularly active in welfare reform. She was heavily involved in her borough’s strong response to last year’s terrorist attack in Finsbury Park.
82 Peter Fleming (Con), leader, Sevenoaks DC
At a time when two-tier governance is questioned, Peter Fleming has built a modern district with a big property portfolio and strong performance. His role as deputy chair of the Local Government Association gives him national profile.
81 Dick Madden (Con), Cabinet member for children’s services, Essex CC
As chairman of the Local Government Association’s task group on the future of social care, Dick Madden has been instrumental in collating evidence on how improvement support should be designed and delivered.
80 Andrew Gwynne (Lab), shadow communities secretary
Referred to as the “next man” by Local Government Association chair Gary Porter in July, the MP for Denton and Reddish has pledged to address funding pressures on councils if in office.
79 David Montague, chief executive, L&Q
Although no longer chair of the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations, L&Q’s chief executive still has the ear of Number 10 and was a key voice at the prime minister’s housing summit in Downing Street in October.
78 Tracey Lee, chief executive, Plymouth City Council
As chair of the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers, Tracey Lee will play a key role in pay negotiations. As Plymouth’s chief executive Ms Lee is also overseeing major regeneration in the city.
77 Dame Louise Casey, former civil servant
Britain’s most straight-talking civil servant has said one of the reasons she left Whitehall is to speak her mind. With the government response to her review on cohesion due, Dame Louise can expect to be vocal.
76 Tamara Finkelstein, director general – Department of Health & Social Care
Tamara Finkelstein has been seconded to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government to lead the building safety programme, which was set up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.
75 Dame Judith Hackitt, chair, EEF
The findings of the manufacturing trade body chair’s review of building regulations, with a particular focus on fire safety post-Grenfell, will have major ramifications. Dame Judith’s interim report is imminent.
74 Sir Stephen Houghton (Lab), leader, Barnsley MBC
Sir Stephen will have influence first in spearheading the bid for a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal, and second in his continuing chairmanship of Sigoma, the special interest group for urban authorities.
73 Ed Cox, director, IPPR North
Ed Cox provides leading insight into developing governance in the north and is a strong advocate for more devolution to northern cities.
72 Clive Betts (Lab), chair, Common communities and local government committee
The former Sheffield City Council leader was re-elected chair of the Commons’ communities and local government committee in July after a challenge from Labour colleague David Lammy.
71 Sean Anstee (Con), leader, Trafford MBC
At a time when the government is short of fresh faces, Sean Anstee is the epitome of the next generation of Conservatives. Bright, confident and the leader of a strongly performing council, Cllr Anstee will go far.
70 Henry Kippin, interim director of public service reform, West Midlands CA
Henry Kippin’s role at West Midlands CA places him in the crucible of service reform in devolved contexts. Judges said his previous job at Collaborate showed that he can play a role “in lots of transformation initiatives… around the country”.
69 Peter John (Lab), leader, Southwark LBC
Southwark’s leader is among London’s most prominent local politicians. He leads for London Councils on business, skills and Brexit, and he is the body’s deputy chair.
68 John Barradell, chief executive, City of London Corporation
John Barradell is a renowned emergencies expert who led the Grenfell Response Team. His influence is particularly felt in London’s local government.
67 Matthew Taylor, chief executive, RSA
Having last year led Number 10’s review of employment practices, Matthew Taylor remains a leading voice on productivity, technology, social justice and public sector reform.
66 Becky Shaw, chief executive, East Sussex CC
Becky Shaw was recently described to LGC as “the best chief executive in the country” by one well-connected fan. She is closely involved in the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers’ Ignite programme, and as such is vocal on leadership issues in the sector.
65 Lord Heseltine, Conservative peer
As he approaches his 85th birthday, the former Conservative minister remains among the most influential proponents of a more locally conceived growth policy. He will campaign against Brexit with all his might.
64 Terrie Alafat, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Housing
The former director of housing in the Department for Communities & Local Government remains influential both inside and outside Whitehall. Outspoken when she wants to be, Terrie Alafat could have a big say on welfare reforms and homelessness.
63 Sarah Wollaston (Con), chair, Commons health committee
Dr Wollaston has been outspoken in her criticism of the government’s failure to produce a social care funding green paper or secure cross-party support for reform.
62 Pat Ritchie, chief executive, Newcastle City Council
Pat Ritchie has radically restructured Newcastle’s management to cope with austerity. Her expertise will be crucial in 2018 as the North of Tyne CA takes shape in preparations for 2019 mayoral elections.
61 Chris Ham, chief executive, King’s Fund
The King’s Fund remains the leading authority on health and social chair economies. Chris Ham has led the think-tank since 2010 and is ably supported by social care expert, senior fellow Richard Humphries.
60 Margaret Willcox, director of adult social care, Gloucestershire CC
As president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Margaret Willcox has played a central role in making a passionate and evidence-based argument for urgent funding for social care and the need for a sustainable solution to future pressures.
59 Nick Forbes (Lab), leader, Newcastle City Council
Cllr Forbes looks set to continue raising Labour’s local government profile through his role as party group leader at the Local Government Association despite question marks over how much influence he can have in his party at a national level. He was driving force in getting a North of Tyne devolution deal.
58 Duncan Selbie, chief executive, Public Health England
As chief executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie was a signatory to the NHS Five Year Forward View and has a role in assessing the sustainability and transformation partnerships process.
57 Simon Ridley, director general for decentralisation, MHCLG
Tasked with ensuring meaningful decentralisation leads to local economic growth, Simon Ridley is perceived as a friend of the sector who is likely to have an even more meaningful role following the industrial strategy’s publication.
56 Carolyn Wilkins, chief executive, Oldham MBC
Carolyn Wilkins leads on public service reform within Greater Manchester CA and also holds a significant role as accountable officer for her local clinical commissioning group.
55 Alexis Jay, chair, Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
After leading the first independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, in 2016 Alexis Jay was appointed chair of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, which is examining how institutions handled their duty of care to protect children.
54 Sandra Dinneen, chief executive, South Norfolk Council
While no longer chair of the District Councils’ Network chief executive group, Sandra Dinneen remains influential, especially as her South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller (Con) now heads the network’s political arm.
53 Gavin Jones, chief executive, Essex CC
This former private sector manager is seeking to turn his county into a commercially minded organisation through a radical management restructure. Through his role as chairman of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers, Gavin Jones is an evangelist for innovation.
52 Mark Rogers, executive director, Collaborate
He may have been black-balled by ministers in his former role as Birmingham City Council chief executive but Mark Rogers’ reputation in local government remains intact. The judges labelled him “a good disruptor” – a description he can live up to with roles for Collaborate and KPMG.
51 Heather Wakefield, head of local government service group, Unison
Workforce discontent has finally forced the easing of the public sector pay cap. Heather Wakefield will be a key figure in determining whether the pay offer is accepted – and whether it facilitates better relations in the sector.