Lord Toby Harris
Lord Toby Harris, Lord Harris of Haringey, was made a Life Peer in June 1998 and has been Chair of the Labour Peers since 2012. He is a member of the Select Committee on Life Beyond Covid and was a member of the Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies, which reported in summer 2020. He was a member (latterly Vice Chair) of the Joint Committee on National Security for most of the last decade. In 2013, he chaired the House of Lords Committee on the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy. He was also a member of the House of Lords Select Committee that reported on Personal Internet Security in 2007. He is Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Policing and an Officer of the Parliamentary Internet and Communications Technology Forum.
Outside Parliament, he chairs the National Preparedness Commission, whose mission is to promote better preparedness for a major crisis or incident, and is President of the Institute of Strategic Risk Management. He has also been Chair of National Trading Standards – which is responsible for delivering national and cross-boundary consumer protection enforcement activity – since May 2013, and Chair of the Fundraising Regulator (overseeing charitable fundraising) since January 2019. In addition, he chairs the Independent Advisory Group on Ethics for the National Crime Agency. In 2016, he conducted an Independent Review for the Mayor of London on London’s Preparedness to Respond to a Major Terrorist Incident.
At the request of the Minister for Prisons, he led an Independent Review on the Deaths of Young People in Prison Custody. The report, The Harris Review: Changing Prisons, Saving Lives, was published in July 2015 and was the most substantial review of penal policy for nearly thirty years. He was also Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody that reported to the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Department of Health from 2009 to 2015.
He was born in 1953 and graduated from Cambridge University in 1975, having studied Natural Sciences and Economics and where he was President of the Cambridge Union. 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 has advised a number of major public and private sector bodies. He was until recently a non-executive director of Cybersecurity Challenge UK.