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Tower Hamlets to look internally again

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Tower Hamlets LBC is poised to extend the contract of its current interim head of paid service in a bid to avoid ministerial intervention.

A meeting of the full council due to take place on Wednesday evening is set to discuss a medium-term solution to its long-running struggle to appoint a chief executive.

The meeting comes after the LGA and London Councils warned the authority that the failure to appoint a chief executive since Kevan Collins’ departure in July 2011 risked intervention by the Department for Communities & Local Government.

LGC understands the proposal is for current interim head of paid service Stephen Halsey to continue in the role on a fixed-term contract until after the 2014 mayoral elections. However, the outcome of the full council meeting is uncertain after a string of meetings and recruitment processes failed to make an appointment.

Mr Halsey became interim head of paid service in July last year after Aman Dalvi, the council’s corporate director for development and renewal, failed to gain the support of all members of the recruitment panel. Mr Halsey’s contract as interim head of paid service was due to end on January 14 but was extended to the 23 after a December meeting of full council failed to agree on a successor.

Tower Hamlets has been politically unstable since the creation of an elected mayoralty in 2010, when Lutfur Rahman (Ind) won. He is supported by Independent councillors, mostly defectors from Labour, but lacks a majority and hostile councillors potentially have the numbers to block his budget.

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