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Council Leader

Councillor Richard WattsLeader of the Council, Richard Watts

Leader of the Council
Labour Member for Tollington Ward

Meet Richard

Like all councillors, Richard holds regular advice surgeries for residents in his ward.
For more information about Richard's surgeries access the Leader's page

Leader's Role

The Leader of the Council provides political leadership and works together with Executive Members to set out a vision for Islington and the strategic plans that will help the Council to achieve it. The Leader is elected for four years by Council.

Within the role, the Leader has specific duties including:

  • Political leadership: chairing the Executive and sharing collective responsibility for Executive decisions; acting as the principal political spokesperson for the Council; supporting, developing and managing members of the Executive.

  • Corporate leadership: giving political direction to the Chief Executive, Directors and other officers; providing political leadership to the development and implementation of the Council’s Corporate Plan and Budget; working with officers to formulate and implement policy proposals.

  • Partnership and community leadership: acting as an advocate for the local community and a spokesperson for residents; promoting Council priorities; building cross-borough links that progress the Council’s objectives; representing the Council and contributing to London-wide, national and international bodies/forums to promote Islington’s interests.

  • Reporting and accountability: reporting to Full Council, Executive, scrutiny, regulatory bodies and stakeholders as appropriate.

  • Governance, ethical standards and relationships: promoting and supporting good governance of the Council, open and transparent government, respectful and effective relationships with officers, and adhering to the code of conduct.

A full job description for the Leader of the Council and for Executive Members can be downloaded from the Constitution webpage.

About Richard

Councillor Richard Watts has lived in Islington since 1998, representing Tollington ward in the north of Islington since 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. 

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. Previously he worked for a number of different campaigns and a consultancy organisation, which led to some work in Kosovo helping develop the political party that formed out of the KLA guerrilla army. 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.

Richard and his partner have two children.