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Commissioners at Tower Hamlets

Role of Commissioners

Four Commissioners were brought in by the Secretary of State to work with the council until March 2017.

They were brought in to implement the four directions put in place by the Secretary of State to support the council in continuous improvement and ensuring transparent and open governance.

While in place, the Commissioners had responsibility for the grant making functions together with the oversight of other key areas.

The Commissioners worked with the council to develop and monitor a number of best value action plans. These list the key activities that needed to be undertaken in order to meet the requirements of the council’s duties.

Lead Commissioner Sir Ken Knight said: “Following the report of the Inspectors the Secretary of State determined that the council had failed to comply with its best value duty in some specific areas and has taken steps to address this. This does not imply that the entire council is failing or that residents are receiving poor services. It is without question that the council provides a number of excellent services to the community.”

 All powers were returned to the council in March 2017. The Commissioners were removed by the Secretary of State on 31 March 2017. The Secretary of State issued new Directions which require the council to provide quarterly reports on outstanding actions from the Best Value Action plans until September 2018.

Who are the Commissioners

Sir Ken Knight CBE QFSM

Sir Ken Knight was nominated by the Secretary of State at DCLG, as the lead Commissioner in Tower Hamlets in December 2014.

He began his local government career in the fire service and worked in a number of fire rescue services. He served as the Chief fire officer of Dorset and West Midlands fire services before becoming London’s Fire Commissioner from 2003 until 2007.

Sir Ken was appointed as the Government's Chief fire and rescue Advisor for England from 2007 until January 2013 which included operational advice on preparedness and response during the London Olympics.

In May 2013 Sir Ken published an efficiencies review of the fire and rescue services in England entitled ‘Facing the future’ which was commissioned by the government.

Max Caller CBE

Max Caller CBE has amassed 33 years’ experience in London boroughs with the majority at chief officer level. As Chief Executive of Hackney, he managed the transition of the authority from the worst in the country to one of the fastest improving.

As Chief Executive of Barnet he introduced a cabinet form of governance and an effective scrutiny system, which was one of the models for subsequent legislation.

Max was appointed the first Regional Returning Officer for London for the 1999 European elections, was Deputy Chief Counting Officer for the UK wide Alternative Vote referendum and has been involved in electoral pilot arrangements on an all-postal/electronic counting system for borough and mayoral elections.

He has also served as a short term observer for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, overseen elections in Albania and Montenegro and as a Commonwealth observer for elections in Kenya and Ghana. Since April 2010, he has been chairman of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

Max retired as Chair of the Local Government Boundary Commission in Jan 2016.  Also, from 2008 he was an Electoral Commissioner until he stood down to accept the role as Intervention Commissioner at Tower Hamlets in December 2014.

Chris Allison CBE

Having retired after 30 years with the Metropolitan Police Service, Chris Allison is now director of his own consultancy business working with a number of public and private sector clients.

Chris Allison spent the majority of his policing career as a uniformed officer, rising to the rank of Assistant Commissioner.

His last major role in the police was as the National Olympic Security Coordinator, responsible for leading the planning and delivery of the national security operation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and he was awarded a CBE in the 2013 Birthday Honours list for this work.

Throughout his service, he was heavily involved in the policing of public order events and, since 1996 he undertook a command or oversight role at almost all of the major events and incidents that took place in London. He was the Police Gold Commander for the terrorist atrocities that took place on the London Underground on the 7th July 2005 for which he was awarded an MBE.

In the past, he was the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on licensing/alcohol matters and the ACPO lead for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) matters. He was also head of the ACPO Olympic Business Area.

Alan Wood CBE

Alan Woods appointment as a commissioner ended on 16 January.

From 2002-2012, Alan was the Chief Executive of The Learning Trust (TLT) which was appointed to deliver all of the statutory education services provided by London Borough of Hackney (LBH). From 2006-2012, Alan was also been the Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Services in LBH. In that period education, social work for children and youth services in Hackney were transformed and now receive national recognition for their work. Alan has held the post of Director of Education in two London local authorities.

Alan was Chair of the Association of London Directors of Children Services (2007- 2010) and Vice President of the ADCS (2013-2014) and was the national President ADCS 2014-15. He was appointed by the Secretary of State to be a member of the Training and Development Agency for Teachers (TDA) and was a member of the Advisory Group for the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

Alan was asked by the Secretary of State for Education to review the arrangements for Children Social Care in Doncaster (2013) and Birmingham (2014) and has co-authored subsequent reports with Professor Sir Julian Le Grand (LSE). In 2013 Alan was appointed by the Secretary of State as Commissioner for Children Social Care in Doncaster to ensure a new Trust was established to provide these services. The Doncaster Children Services Trust (DCST) becomes operational from September 2014. In 2016, he was commissioned by the Secretary of State to review the role and function of local safeguarding boards and the Wood report of his recommendation was published in May 2016. Alan has recently been appointed by the Secretary of State to chair two national advisory boards; one on the role of local authorities in relation to children and the other the Youth Custody Improvement Board.

Decisions made by Commissioners