Toby Harris (Lord Harris of Haringey) was made a Life Peer in June 1998 and is Chair of the Labour Peers’ Group. He chaired the House of Lords Committee on the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy in 2013 and has been a member of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy from 2010 to 2014 and again from 2016. He was also a member of the House of Lords Select Committee that reported on Personal Internet Security in 2007. He is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Policing and an officer of the Parliamentary Internet and Communications Technology Forum (PICTFOR).
He was appointed as Chair of the National Trading Standards Board in May 2013. NTS is responsible for delivering national and regional consumer protection enforcement and reports to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
He is the UK Coordinator for the Electric Infrastructure Security Council, which hosts national and international education, planning and communication initiatives to help coordinate infrastructure protection against severe hazards, in partnership with government representatives, corporations and other NGOs.
From 2009 until 2015, he was Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody reporting to the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department of Health. In 2014, he was asked by the Prisons Minister to lead an independent review into the deaths of young people in prison, whose report (“The Harris Review: Changing Prisons, Saving Lives“) was published in July 2015 and has been described as the most comprehensive independent review of penal policy for a generation.
In May 2016, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, asked him to conduct an Independent Review of London’s Preparedness to Respond to a Major Terrorist Incident. This was published in October 2016 and most of its recommendations have or are in the process of being implemented.
He was born in 1953 and graduated from Cambridge University in 1975, having studied Natural Sciences and Economics. His professional career began with four years in the Economics Division of the Bank of England. He then spent seven years at the Electricity Consumers’ Council, becoming Deputy Director in 1983. In 1987, he became Director of the Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales (the national statutory body representing patients’ interests). He remained there until October 1998, when he established Toby Harris Associates.
He was a member of the London Assembly from May 2000 to June 2004, on which he led the Labour Group. He was the first Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), during that period and a member of the Executive of the Association of Police Authorities from 2000 to 2006. He continued to sit on the MPA from 2004 to 2012 as the representative of the Home Secretary with a remit to oversee the national and international functions of the Metropolitan Police – primarily its role in counter-terrorism and security. He also oversaw their risk management and audit, and was the interim chair of the Audit Panel for the Metropolitan Police Service and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.
He was a member of Haringey Council from 1978 to 2002 and was its Leader from 1987 to 1999, having previously spent five years as Chair of Social Services. He was Chair of the Association of London Government (now London Councils), representing the 33 local authorities in London, from its formation in 1995 until 2000, having previously chaired the Association of London Authorities. He is now Joint President of London Councils.
From 1986 to 1993, he was Chair of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities’ Social Services Committee and led for local government in negotiations about the introduction of Community Care and the Children Act. He was formerly a member of the Executive of the Local Government Association and one of the Association’s Vice-Presidents.
He was the first Chair of the Institute of Commissioning Professionals, has been a non-executive director of the London Ambulance Service, a Senior Associate of the Kings Fund, and a member of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants.
He is a former member of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union.