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Archive for July 22nd, 2011

I was in a restaurant when I had a missed call with this bombshell news last night; Andrew Gilligan reported it here first. Tower Hamlets council chief executive Kevan Collins has resigned.

Here’s the statement from the council’s website:

Chief Executive to leave Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets Council has today announced that Kevan Collins, its Chief Executive since 2009, and its Director of Children’s Services since 2005, is moving on from his post with the council.   Kevan has accepted a national role as Chief Executive of the newly created Education Endowment Foundation.

Kevan Collins said: “I’m honoured that the Education Endowment Foundation has asked me to become its first Chief Executive and I am looking forward to working with schools, local authorities and other providers to improve the education outcomes for children from disadvantaged communities.

“My career started as a teacher in Tower Hamlets and the opportunity to support a national drive to improve education outcomes for children who face disadvantage is one that I can’t resist. I leave Tower Hamlets Council with feelings of enduring affection and gratitude.”

Mayor Lutfur Rahman commented: “Kevan has given outstanding service to Tower Hamlets and whilst he will be missed we are proud that an important national body will benefit from the experience Kevan has gained in our borough.

“Kevan’s passion is education and, as a former national director for primary education and a current visiting fellow at the Institute for Education, he is returning to his roots.  We thank him for his legacy of achievement for the people of Tower Hamlets but I note that he will still keep a close eye on the borough as he remains a resident!”

An interim successor to Dr. Collins will be announced next week and made from one of the existing members of the Corporate Management Team.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation. The Education Endowment Foundation has been established with a £125 million endowment from the government and with income from the endowment and fundraising it will spend over £200 million over 15 years. Its mission is to improve the educational attainment of children on free school meals in poorly performing schools.
  2. Kevan has been appointed as the first Chief Executive for the Foundation. 
  3. Kevan has been with LBTH since 2005, firstly as DCS and then since 2009 as CE.
  4. Education in Tower Hamlets has improved dramatically over the past decade, with results in both the SATs tests (Key Stage 2) and GCSE examinations (Key Stage 4) increasing year on year. Last year, secondary schools across the borough achieved their best ever GCSE results and three of those schools were ranked by the Department for Education in the top 50 most improved schools in the country.
As Andrew Gilligan notes, this a big blow.
I’m sure that Kevan didn’t mull too long over the offer, despite being given a VIP ticket for the Olympics as council chief executive. It’s what happens next that’s interesting. As the press release states, a member of the council’s management team will now run the borough on an interim basis while no doubt tens of thousands of pounds will be spent on hundhunters looking for the “right” replacement.
My hunch is that Aman Dalvi, the council’s director regeneration, will be itching to take over. More than anyone else at the top of the council, he’s extremely close to Lutfur and I’m sure those long evening conversations will pay off.
Until 2002, he was chief executive of Ujima Housing Association, which collapsed six years later in 2008. From 2002 until 2008, he was the boss of Gateway to London, a regeneration project in the Thames Gateway corridor. This link here from the Chartered Institute of Housing  details some of his background:

AMAN DALVI – became a Corporate Member in September 2001 via the Distinguished Professional route. Now Chief Executive of Ujima Housing Association, he previously worked for the Housing Corporation for 5 years and was awarded an OBE in the New Years’ Honour List 2000 for services to housing. Aman joined the housing sector in 1986 after a career in Industry. Increasingly senior housing positions meant that he found it difficult to spare the time to study. He was excited, therefore, to become a member via the Distinguished Professional route.

Aman relies heavily upon CIH services within his role at Ujima, most notably CIH publications, guidance on legislation and the magazines and regularly uses CIH training for his staff. He is keen to develop his involvement with the CIH and would eventually like to stand for CIH National Council.

I wonder what the excellent Sara Williams, the council’s former assistant chief executive who left in 2008 to join a Government think tank that no longer exits, make of it all. I wonder if she’d fancy it: somehow i doubt it.

UPDATE – 11.30am, July 22.

Despite the impression given in Kevan’s statement above that he was “asked” to head the new body, I understand from someone close to Lutfur that he applied for the job quite some time ago. The Education Endowment Foundation is an arm of the Sutton Trust and is being funded by £125m of Government money. I’ve asked for details, but I’d be very surprised if his new salary matches the £125,000 he gets at Tower Hamlets. That will tell its own story. I’ve also asked whether Education Secretary Michael Gove approved the appointment (Kevan was a Labour party member and an adviser to Tony Blair).

UPDATE – 12.40pm

A spokesman for the Education Endowment Foundation has confirmed that Michael Gove was not consulted on Kevan’s appointment because, despite the large public funding, the organisation is “independent” of Government. The spokesman said Kevan’s salary would not be paid out of the £125m Government funding.

The Foundation is refusing to disclose Kevan’s salary because that is a “private matter”, but I’m told he will be earning considerably less than the £177k he gets in Tower Hamlets.

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