About us

Islington Council, or more formally the London Borough of Islington, is a local authority serving over 206,000 inner London residents.

The council's primary aim is to deliver a fairer Islington, for the benefit of all our residents.

Our Vision

We’re determined to make Islington fairer and to create a place where everyone, whatever their background, has the same opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life.

Our Objectives

Our seven clear objectives are:

  • Homes - Delivering decent and genuinely affordable homes for all
  • Jobs and money - Delivering an inclusive economy, supporting people into work and helping them with the cost of living
  • Safety - Creating a safe and cohesive borough for all
  • Children and Young People - Making Islington the best place for all young people to grow up
  • Place and environment - Making Islington a welcoming and attractive borough and creating a healthier environment for all
  • Health and independence - Ensuring our residents can lead healthy and independent lives
  • Well run council - Continuing to be a well-run council and making a difference despite reduce resources

Between 2010 and 2020, national Government will have cut its core funding to the council by 70 per cent, at the same time as unavoidable cost increases and rising demand for services have seen the council make savings of £115m. Despite these financial challenges, we are making progress delivering our fairness agenda.

Islington is proud to be a council that has fairness at its heart and puts local people first.

How the council works

Islington residents are represented by 48 councillors, elected for a four-year term. Councillors determine the policies of the council, while officers (or council staff) are employed to give advice, implement these decisions and deliver council services. Council officers are accountable to the Chief Executive.

For information about council meetings and how the council works – including decisions, elections, ward partnerships and the council’s forward plan – visit our democracy pages.

Facts and Figures

  • Islington is one of 32 London boroughs
  • Islington comprises 16 electoral wards, each represented by three elected councillors. The most recent council-wide election took place in May 2018 and returned 47 Labour councillors and one Green
  • The council is therefore Labour-controlled, under council leader Cllr Richard Watts
  • Despite its wealthy image, Islington is the 24th most deprived local authority area in England, with extremes of rich and poor. In 2010 the council created The Islington Fairness Commission to look into ways to make the borough a fairer place – many other local authorities have since followed suit.
  • In 2012 Islington became the first local authority to be accredited as a London Living Wage employer
  • Our key corporate documents – including our annual report and Corporate Plan 2015-19 can be read here


Mayor of Islington, Cllr Rakhia Ismail

Councillor Rakhia Ismail, The Mayor of Islington 2019 -2020

Islington has a ceremonial mayor, elected by their fellow councillors to serve for a one-year term in office. During that term, the Mayor represents the borough at many civic and public events, acting as the borough’s first citizen.

The Mayor chairs meetings of the full council. At those meetings, they are entitled to vote as an Islington councillor and also currently have the casting vote in the event of a tie after all councillors have voted.

The current Mayor of Islington is Councillor Rakhia Ismail.

Cllr Richard Watts - 2018 headshot picture[2]

Councillor Richard Watts, Council Leader

Richard was first elected to Islington Council in 2006.

Richard served as Executive Member for Children & Families from May 2010 and Executive Member for Finance & Performance from May 2013 until becoming Council Leader in October 2013.

He represents Tollington ward, and before becoming a full time member of the Council’s Executive, Richard ran the Children’s Food Campaign, a national campaign to improve children’s diets.

He graduated with a degree in politics from Durham University and before this worked in the Pretty Polly tights factory in Nottinghamshire.

He is a governor of City and Islington College. He is also chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, representing the interests of local authorities at a national level.

The Executive

The leader of the Council appoints an Executive - a team of councillors with specific responsibilities. They are;

Richard Watts, Leader of the Council 

Janet Burgess MBE, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Health and Social Care 

Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families 

Satnam Gill, Executive Member for Finance and Performance

Una O'Halloran, Executive Member for Community Development

Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development 

Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Inclusive Economy and Jobs

Rowena Champion, Executive Member for Environment and Transport