Michael Thomas Lyons
15 September 1949
|Alma mater||Middlesex University, and Queen Mary & Westfield College|
|Employer||English Cities Fund, BBC Trust|
|Political party||Labour Party|
Sir Michael Thomas Lyons (born 15 September 1949), is the non-executive chairman of the English Cities Fund and Participle Ltd; he is a former Chairman of the BBC Trust.
He is a former Labour Party councillor and council chief executive in the United Kingdom, who has also been involved in some of the key central government commissions and reports into local government finance from 2000 to 2007.
Michael Lyons was educated at Stratford Grammar School (London), Middlesex University, and at Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London. Whilst completing his formal education, he worked for two years as a part-time street trader at Bell St Market, London. Lyons then worked as a lecturer in economics at Wallbrook College, London, and the University of Nottingham.
Lyons worked in the public sector as an economist, and between 1980 and 1983 served as an elected Labour councillor on Birmingham City Council. He then became Chief Executive of three significant local authorities: Wolverhampton Borough Council (1985-90); Nottinghamshire County Council (1990-94); and then Birmingham City Council (1994-2001). Lyons was knighted in January 2000 in recognition of his services to Local Government.
During 2004 he was the chairman of two successful government projects: "Review of Public Sector Relocation" on behalf of the Chancellor and Prime Minister, and "Corporate Governance Commission" on behalf of Cardiff City Council. He was Deputy Chairman of the Audit Commission for two years until October 2006, serving for a while as Acting chairman. In March 2007 he published his final report and recommendations from his three-year independent Inquiry into the future role, function and funding of local government.
Lyons was the Head of Inlogov, the leading Local Government Public Policy school in the United Kingdom at Birmingham University from 2001 to 2006, and was awarded an honorary LL.D by Birmingham University in 2009. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from Middlesex University.
Lyons is also a governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a non-executive director of Mouchel, Wragge & Co solicitors and SQW Group Ltd. Lyons is a former chairman of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and former member of the boards of City Pride, Birmingham Marketing Partnership and Millennium Point Property Trust Company. He was previously a director of Central Independent Television, until 1993.
On 1 May 2007, Lyons became Chairman of the BBC Trust, which also carries the title BBC chairman. He was appointed to the position after Michael Grade left the BBC to become Executive Chairman of rival broadcaster ITV. On 3 August 2007 a House of Lords all-party select committee criticised the way the appointment was handled, saying government ministers had too much influence over his appointment. Lyons dismissed the allegations, pledging "absolute independence and impartiality".
On 14 September 2010 Lyons announced he had written to Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, to explain that he would serve for only one four-year term and would not seek reappointment in May 2011. He cited a growing workload for the part-time role had made him anxious which in turn had been "crowding out" other demands on his own time. He was succeeded in May 2011 by Lord Patten of Barnes.
At Labour Party Conference 2013, the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, launched a Housing Commission to review public policy of Housing in the United Kingdom. Sir Michael Lyons headed this commission and published the report on 16 October 2014.
Sir Michael Lyons has identified a number of key areas on which he would like to focus:
- The land Market
- Investment in housing and infrastructure
- The role of a new generation of New Towns and Garden Cities
- Co-operation between adjoining local authorities in the planning process.
- Sharing the benefit of development with local communities.
The full report can be found here