Kerslake receives posthumous award for economic development work

Honour recognises late civil service head’s “outstanding contribution” to driving growth
Tom Stannard and Eleanor Kerslake at the IED awards Photo: IED

By Jim Dunton

20 Nov 2023

The Institute of Economic Development has presented a posthumous award to the late Lord Bob Kerslake, former head of the UK civil service and permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Kerslake was 68 when he died at the beginning of July following what his family described as “a short battle” with cancer. He began his career in local government, rising to become chief executive of Sheffield City Council for a decade, leading the Homes and Communities Agency and then taking the helm at DCLG in 2010.

Kerslake was head of the UK civil service in addition to his DCLG role from 2012 to 2014. His post-government jobs included chairing the UK2070 Commission, the New Economics Foundation,  and Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation.

IED chair Tom Stannard said there was “no more worthy recipient” for the outstanding contribution to economic development award presented to Kerslake at the institute’s annual awards ceremony earlier this month. The award was collected by Kerslake’s daughter Eleanor.

Stannard said Kerslake had been described as an “eminent advocate” for local authorities and “the kindest of men” but had also been a “prolific contributor to, and exceptional leader of, UK economic development”.

“It was a real honour to welcome Eleanor to receive our outstanding contribution to economic development award on behalf of her late father, a much-missed giant of our profession,” Stannard said.

He said the award was “a small token of the IED’s appreciation of Bob’s immeasurable contribution to our profession”.

Current cabinet secretary Simon Case and former cab secs Lord Gus O’Donnell and Lord Mark Sedwill paid tribute to Kerslake after news of his death emerged.

It was Sedwill,  perm sec at the Home Office during the final months of Kerslake’s time in government, who described his friend and former colleague as “the kindest of men”.

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