Deadlocked Tower Hamlets council renews temporary stand-in for top vacancy

The man acting as Tower Hamlets council’s temporary Head of Paid Services has been asked to carry on for another six months.

Steve Halsey’s extension was agreed at an extraordinary council meeting behind closed doors last night (Tues).

The authority has been in deadlock over appointing a chief executive since Dr Kevan Collins resigned 16 months ago.

The rift between executive mayor Lutfur Rahman and both Labour and Conservative opposition councillors over who should take over means the authority is running without a top officer to manage the �1.2 billion annual budget.

The mayor doesn’t have legal powers to appoint a chief executive—that’s the role of the council on recommendation from its human resources panel under Parliamentary legislation.

The panel has been unable to come up with a candidate acceptable to the full council. It has three Labour members and a Tory, with a vacant place the mayor has not taken up.

Last night’s decision to reappoint Mr Halsey for six months as Head of Paid Services—a legal requirement—means postponing yet again the appointment of a permanent chief executive.