Gavin Barwell was minister of state for housing and planning for the 12 months before the Grenfell Tower fire in London. He is due to face questions from the public inquiry into that tragedy, when sittings resume, to face questions as to why he ignored multiple, repeated warnings about fire risks in high rise buildings and calls for a fire safety review.
He lost his seat at the next election but was compensated with a job as prime minister Theresa May’s chief of staff to help deliver Brexit. When she lost her job after just two years for failing to deliver, she gave him a peerage, with a seat in the House of Lords on her way out. He set up Gavin Barwell Consulting Limited.
Arcadis has now snapped up the services of Lord Barwell – for an as-yet undisclosed fee – to provide “strategic advice on a series of priorities around construction, housing, placemaking and urban regeneration”.
Arcadis is keen to get more business in the housing space and they think he can help.
Lord Barwell said of his new role: “Arcadis are recognised as world leaders in design and consultancy for natural and built assets and I look forward to helping shape the conversation around construction, urban development and housing. These are areas that will be crucial as we help industry, the economy and our communities recover from the current crisis.”
Arcadis CEO UK & Ireland Mark Cowlard said: “Gavin brings a wealth of expertise across a range of our key sectors in particular urban development and housing. This will help Arcadis further develop our support to clients, during this uncertain time and beyond. Aside from his sector specific credentials, his broader insight, will also be of great value to us as a leadership team as we move beyond Covid-19.”
Peter Hogg, UK cities director, added: “We have been incredibly impressed by Gavin’s passion and understanding for areas that are crucial to Arcadis. As a company we seek to challenge both ourselves and the sectors we work in through innovation and leadership, this appointment will allow us to continue that trend at a time when it is needed most.”