Lord Toby Harris was made a Life Peer in June 1998 and is Vice-Chair of the Labour Peers. He is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Policing and Treasurer of the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee (PITCOM). He is a member of the Joint Committee on National Security and was also a member of the House of Lords Select Committee that reported on Personal Internet Security in 2007.
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 his own public affairs consultancy, Toby Harris Associates, which advises a number of major public and private sector bodies.
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 continues to sit on the MPA 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 is the Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody which reports to the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department of Health.
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, representing the 33 local authorities in London, from its formation in 1995 until 2000, having previously chaired the Association of London Authorities.
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 is Vice-President of and was formerly a member of the Executive of the Local Government Association.
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.