Council Management Team

The council management team is comprised of the Chief Executive and four Strategic Directors, who lead the council's departments. The Director of Finance and Director of Legal, HR and Audit also attend CMT meetings.

The Chief Executive and Council Management Team are responsible for ensuring that services are delivered in accordance with strategies and policies agreed by Council and in the best interests of the community.

They also play a fundamental role in determining the strategic direction of the council and to ensure we reach our goals.


Chief Executive

Carolyn Downs

Carolyn Downs is Brent Council’s Chief Executive, having taken up the position in September 2015.

Prior to her appointment, Carolyn was Chief Executive at the Local Government Association and has also previously served as chief executive of the Legal Services Commission, chief executive of Shropshire County Council and as deputy permanent secretary and director general at the Ministry of Justice.
At Brent, she is the principal policy advisor to the council and the senior manager with responsibility for running the council on a day-to-day basis, including overseeing the council's annual expenditure of around £1 billion.

Carolyn also has overall responsibility for the work of 6,500 staff (including school staff) in more than 200 workplaces providing hundreds of services to Brent's 325,300 residents.

As the statutory Head of Paid Service, Carolyn works closely with elected councillors to deliver leadership and strategic direction to the whole organisation.

She is also responsible for leading and developing strong partnerships with a wide range of national, regional and local agencies.

You can contact the Chief Executive by:

Writing to

Chief Executive
Brent Civic Centre
Engineers Way



Strategic Director - Community Wellbeing

Phil Porter

Phil Porter is the Strategic Director of Community Wellbeing and took on these wider responsibilities in January 2015, after being appointed to the previous position of Strategic Director, Adult Social Care in March 2013. Prior to that, he was the head of Reablement and Safeguarding in Adult Social Services.

Community Wellbeing comprises adult social care, housing, public health and cultural services, and will contribute to improving health and well-being outcomes for our residents, particularly better targeting resources towards support for vulnerable people. The 2020 London Borough of Culture Team also sit within this directorate.


Strategic Director - Regeneration and Environment

Alan Lunt

Alan Lunt joined Brent in August 2020 having previously served as Deputy Chief Executive at Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council in the West Midlands.

He has previously held Strategic Director roles across Merseyside and Greater Manchester, delivering a range of physical and economic regeneration initiatives. He has a wealth of experience of managing frontline council services including highways, transport, planning, environmental, housing, arts and heritage.

The Regeneration and Environment Directorate has responsibility for all regeneration and environmental services including planning, licensing, highways, public realm, property, regulatory services, employment and skills, neighbourhood management and community safety.

Strategic Director - Children and Young People

Gail Tolley is the Strategic Director, Children and Families.

Gail Tolley

She is also the statutory director for Children's Services in Brent.

Children and Families provides education services for children, families and schools together with services for the safeguarding and protection of vulnerable children, including those who are in need.

The department has around 900 staff and an annual net budget of approximately £57 million per year.

In addition, the department sets and monitors the budget for schools of around £220 million per year.

Gail is also responsible for ensuring that all council services (including housing, environmental, cultural, sports and leisure) and all other public services in Brent, such as health and the police, work together to improve the lives of children.

She leads the work of Brent Children's Partnership which comprises the leaders of services for children across Brent.

The partnership produces an annual plan which identifies how services will work together and sets improvement targets to enable children to achieve their best and to be healthier and safer.

The partnership includes schools, the College of North West London, children and family centres, housing, libraries, sport and leisure, police, health services, probation services, employment services and voluntary sector services.

Strategic Director - Customer and Digital Services

Before taking the role as Strategic Director for Customer and Digital services, Peter Gadsdon was the Assistant Chief Executive at Brent for four years. Peter also has three company directorships in Council owned private companies. As Brent’s Strategic Director Customer and Digital Services, Peter has the lead role in ensuring the council delivers customer focused services. In addition, as the Council’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Peter has a solid understanding of technology and how this can be deployed to improve services and outcomes for residents whilst increasing productivity and delivering cost efficiencies through implementing the Council’s Digital Strategy.