Bob Kerslake: Former head of civil service dies after battle with cancer

Bob Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, has died aged 68, his sister has confirmed.

Posting a picture on Twitter, Ros Kerslake said her brother had died on Saturday after "a short battle" with cancer, adding: "We are all devastated.

"I know he will be much missed by everyone, but most of all by his family."

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Lord Kerslake held a number senior roles in local government, including as chief executive of the London Borough of Hounslow and later Sheffield City Council - the fourth largest authority in England.

He then took up a post as the chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, the national housing and regeneration agency for England, before becoming the permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2010.

He went on to be the head of the civil service in January 2012 and served until September 2014, before being ennobled in 2015, serving as a crossbench peer in the House of Lords until his death.

Lord Kerslake led the inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing, where 22 people lost their lives in 2017.

And he was an outspoken commentator on issues from health service funding through to party politics.

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Former colleagues and politicians have paid tribute to Lord Kerslake on Twitter, with Labour's deputy leader, Angela Rayner, describing him as "a good, kind and principled man, generous with his time and full of wisdom".

Shadow environment secretary Jim McMahon also called him "a hugely dedicated public servant" whose "quiet but firm authority garnered support across the political spectrum".

And London mayor Sadiq Khan added: "His kindness and commitment to improving our city and country will always be remembered."