Council-led partnership helps over a thousand unemployed residents into work

An Islington council-led partnership has helped over 1,000 previously unemployed local people into work during the past year, according to a new report published today.

The report – published on the first anniversary of Islington’s 2014 Employment Commission – shows 1,023 residents have been helped to find jobs in 2014/15 – a significant rise from 816 the year before.

The new figures come as a direct result of intensive and tailored employment support – provided by Islington Council and a consortium of leading employment partners and community groups.

Almost 800 of these success stories can be attributed to the work of Islington's Learning, Skills and Employment Service. The service includes the council's iWork team, which, unlike typical generic and untailored employment support schemes, focusses on personalised coaching and mentoring of clients towards sustainable jobs.

As part of its efforts to implement the recommendations of last year’s Employment Commission, Islington Council and local employers have worked closely together to help over 100 unemployed residents secure work at the King’s Cross redevelopment site and create more than 300 jobs across the borough.

The council, Islington Clinical Commissioning Group, and Jobcentre Plus also recently established a scheme in which GPs can now refer consenting patients, who have been out of work for a long time, to specialist employment coaches, based in a number of local doctors’ surgeries. 

The report, ‘Making It Work Better’, sets out a strong call to the government for London councils to be awarded more power and control over local employment support schemes, which would enable councils to draw on their knowledge of London’s labour market, as well as their relationships with local employers.

Islington Council believes that devolving employment services to London will help to simplify the employment support and make such schemes better targeted.  

Leader of Islington Council, Cllr Richard Watts, said: “The fact that over 1,000 local people, who were unemployed a year ago, are now in work is great news and testament to what we can do together to overcome the very real barriers faced by our residents who are unemployed.

“There is still much to do of course, including helping the high numbers of people on Employment Support Allowance to get into jobs that work for them. We are convinced that it is local, not central, government, which is best placed to do this – not just in Islington but across London too.

“We have laid strong foundations for change and I am confident that the year ahead will see us as borough continue to make the Commission’s ambition and vision a reality for Islington.”

The publication of the report coincides with the launch of the 'Islington Aspires' website, a single place online where local employers can find out more about how to get involved in the local community by, for example, recruiting local people and apprentices, and paying staff the London Living Wage.

The independent Islington Employment Commission – the first of its kind in the country – was set up in January 2014 to tackle unemployment in the borough and was co-chaired by leading educationalist and entrepreneur Maggie Semple OBE and Cllr Robert Khan.

The Commission included representatives from business, charities, trade unions, the NHS, Jobcentre Plus and Islington Council. For a full list of commissioners see Notes to Editors.

The final report of the Commission was published on 26 November 2014 and is available via

Notes to editors

The 2015 'Making It Work Better' report can be accessed via:

About unemployment in Islington – based on DWP data (May 2015)
There are 23,090 Islington residents claiming out of work benefits. This equates to 13.9% of the working age population (compared to 10.9% London and 12.2% Great Britain).

About iWork
Islington Council’s iWork service provides one-to-one employment support for people who face significant challenges to getting back into work. The iWork service  has been a key part of Islington’s Universal Support Delivered Locally pilot. Islington is one of eleven trials across the country working with the Department for Work and Pensions to test out how to provide support at a local level to help residents manage the transition to Universal Credit, which replaces a range of current welfare benefits.

Islington's Employment Commission: commissioners
Maggie Semple OBE FCGI (Co-Chair) - The Experience Corps
 Cllr Robert Khan (Co-Chair) – Islington Council
Cllr Claudia Webbe (Vice Chair) – Islington Council
Brendan Sarsfield - Family Mosaic
Emma Stewart MBE – Timewise Foundation
Stephen Davis - City and Islington College
Graeme Cooke - Institute of Public Policy Research
Kevin McLoughlin MBE - K&M Decorators
Francess Alexander-Reynolds - Jobcentre Plus
Megan Dobney - Trades Union Congress
Cllr Richard Watts - Islington Council
Sorrel Brookes - Islington Clinical Commissioning Group
Amy Veitch – Macquarie Group
Tom Shropshire – Linklaters

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.