Council boss who led Rotherham abuse scandal response named City of London’s new chief exec
A high-profile public sector chief, who led Rotherham council’s response to the town’s sex abuse scandal, is set to take on a new position as the City of London’s Town Clerk.
Ian Thomas CBE will leave his position as head of the Royal Borough of Kingston to succeed John Barradell as the City of London’s new Town Clerk and chief executive.
In his new position, Thomas is set to lead the City of London’s efforts to adapt to the post-Covid world, as it seeks to boost its appeal to new types of visitors.
Thomas, who was born to Jamaican parents and grew up in Sheffield, came to prominence over his efforts to reform Rotherham’s children’s services provisions, after a 2014 report described “blatant failures” in the council’s approach that led to 1,400 children being sexually abused from 1997 to 2003.
Prior to being brought in to Rotherham Council, the new City of London exec cut his teeth at Derbyshire Council, where he led children’s services before rising to the position of deputy chief executive.
Thomas later played a vital role in the Royal Borough of Kingston’s response to the pandemic, having previously worked as head of Lewisham Council and as a leading figure in Trafford Council’s housing division.
The local government chief now says he is “inspired” by the prospect of leading the body that governs the UK’s financial centre, as it seeks to adapt to a post-Covid world.
The City of London’s policy chairman Chris Hayward explained that in his new position, Thomas will play a key part in reimagining the square mile as a “world-leading destination in which to live, work and visit,” under the City’s “Destination City” strategy.
The Destination City plan is seeking to boost the “vibrancy” of the UK’s financial hub, with a view transforming it into an entertainment district.
The position of Town Clerk dates back to the 13th century, at which point it was originally solely an administrative role, with the main responsibility being recording meeting minutes.
The Town Clerk role has however been transformed over the past eight centuries into an executive position with significant responsibilities over the City of London’s operations and strategy.