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. To create a place where everyone, whatever their background, has the opportunity to reach their potential and enjoy a good quality of life.

Our priorities for achieving a fairer Islington are:

  • Providing more council housing and supporting private renters
  • Helping residents who are out of work to find the right job
  • Helping residents cope with the rising cost of living
  • Making Islington a place where our residents have a good quality of life
  • Providing residents with good services on a tight budget

Since 2010 the Government has cut its funding to Islington Council by half – a reduction of £150 million - putting Islington in the top ten worst hit areas in the country and leaving every household in the borough £1,000 worse off. 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.

As an organisation we focus on delivering efficient and value for money services where our staff treat public money as if it were their own.

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 (IFC) to look into ways to make the borough a fairer place – many other local authorities have since followed suit. The IFC report and recommendations were published in June 2011.
  • 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.


Councillor Dave Poyser
Councillor Dave Poyser

Councillor Dave Poyser, The Mayor of Islington 2018 -2019

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

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

The current Mayor of Islington is Councillor Dave Poyser

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Lesley Seary

Lesley Seary, Chief Executive of Islington Council 

The Chief Executive leads and takes responsibility for the work of the staff that run the local authority on a day to day basis, providing over 600 local services.

As principal policy adviser, the Chief Executive ensures that central government legislation is translated and implemented locally through policy planning, reporting arrangements and strong performance management systems.

Islington Council's chief executive is Lesley Seary. Lesley joined Islington as chief executive in 2011 from Lewisham Council where she was executive director for customer services.

Richard Watts

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

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 ow the council works - including decisions,elections, ward partnerships, and the council's forward plan visit our democracy pages

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 

Joe Calouri, Executive member for Children, Young People and Families 

Kaya Comer - Schwartz, Executive member for Community Development 

Andy Hull, Executive Member for Finance Performance and Community Safety 

Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing Development 

Asima Shaikh, Executive member for Economic Development   

Claudia Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport