Derrick Anderson was born in London’s Mile End and grew up in Birmingham.
Derrick became the British Universities Decathlon champion whilst studying Psychology and Physical Education at Birmingham University, achieving a double honours degree in Psychology and Physical Education.
After university Derrick trained as a probation officer, worked for NACRO and studied for a masters degree in Social Work at Leicester University. In 1982 Derrick was appointed the deputy director of Action Sport West Midlands. Derrick also became a deputy director of Yorkshire Arts then director of cultural services at Wakesfield Council. Derrick was a founder of Kokuma dance group.
In 1991 at the age of 34 Derrick became the first Black director of a Wolverhampton Council department.
In 1996 Derrick became the first Black Chief Executive of a local authority in England and Wales. Under his leadership Wolverhampton attained city status.
In 2003 he was awarded the CBE for his services to local government.