Darra Singh, a former Chief Executive of Luton Borough Council, has been chosen to head the Communities and Victims Panel that the Government has set up to talk to those affected by the riots in August and to attempt to understand why they occurred. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, announced the membership of the panel this week.
Darra was the Chief Exec for my first few years as a councillor in Luton and so I got to see him at work. I reckon he is a good choice for this role. I have in the past praised the work he did as chair of the Commission for Integration and Cohesion under the last Labour government. Some of the conclusions of that commission where quite challenging and so if this new panel applies the same degree of rigour to it’s work it’s conclusions won’t necessarily be comfortable for the current coalition government.
The establishment of this panel is in step with the more sensible response to the riots that Nick Clegg has taken. I think it is unlikely that Darra will be inclined to endorse the more wilder aspects of the Tories knee jerk response. That said, I get the impression that he is respected across all political parties so what he and the other members of the panel come up with should hopefully have some weight.
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.