About the Council

Southwark Council supports a thriving, diverse, dynamic community, and a borough of huge excitement and opportunity. A borough with a rich and proud history, strong sense of community and a great ability to transform and renew, sometimes very much against the odds.

Southwark typifies the changes, challenges and opportunities of being part of global city and international destination of choice for business, enterprise, entertainment and the arts.


Our borough is home to the Shard, world-famous attractions such as the Tate Modern, Borough Market, Dulwich Picture Gallery and Tower Bridge. We have recently attracted renowned organisations like Mountview theatre school and the Central Ballet School to our borough.


But Southwark is a place of contrasts and as well as the places seen by tourists and visitors, we are a place to call home. As the largest local authority landlord in London, we manage 55,000 council homes which are home to 40% of Southwark’s residents. 


We are also home to over 18,300 businesses including iconic London venues and social enterprises. We support and work with our businesses to ensure local people benefit from opportunities to train, work and progress in our borough. As a young, diverse and growing borough, we demand the best start in life for our children, and support their journey to become thriving adults.


And we are a green borough, with many award winning parks, tree-lined streets and estates, allotments and woods. Our ambitious plans to tackle the climate emergency and improve active travel, demand the very best for our residents.


Despite all our efforts, we still have more to do to ensure all our residents get the best from our borough. In Southwark we’re committed to making our borough just and fair, and taking positive action to tackle inequalities, including those health inequalities illustrated by COVID-19. Our residents and communities are our greatest asset and together we are moving forward from the pandemic to rebuild our economy and create a greener borough for our growing population to thrive in.


The passion we have for Southwark is shared by millions of Londoners who enjoy our outstanding cultural offer, use our hospitals and attend our universities.


Our council delivery plan 2022 – 2026 which prioritises good quality housing, tackling the climate emergency and reducing inequalities, also sets out our commitment that Southwark Stands Together. Our work with Southwark’s communities and the council’s staff to tackle racism, injustice and inequality, underpins all we do, as do our values which are shared by all.

Political Make-up

Southwark is made up of 23 wards, with 63 councillors leading the council. Each of these councillors sits on the council assembly, which is the ‘sovereign body’ of the council. The assembly is chaired by the Mayor of Southwark.


The council assembly is responsible for approving the budget, developing policies, making constitutional decisions and deciding on local legislation.


Two political parties are represented on the council. The Labour party holds 52 seats, the Liberal Democrat party 11 seats. The council is controlled by the Labour party. A cabinet, which is a senior group of councillors working in a similar way to the government’s cabinet, is headed by the leader. The leader is elected by council assembly for a term of four years. The leader appoints a cabinet made up of up to ten councillors, each holding a special ‘portfolio’ of responsibility. The majority opposition party in Southwark Council is the Liberal Democrat party who have spokespeople for each portfolio within the cabinet.


The cabinet is responsible for leading the community planning and consultation process, searching for best value, drafting the budget, deciding on policies, and taking decisions on resources and priorities. The portfolio responsibilities are currently:

Councillor Kieron Williams – Leader of the Council

Councillor Jasmine Ali – Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education & Refugees

Councillor Evelyn Akoto – Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing

Councillor Stephanie Cryan – Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities & Finance

Councillor Helen Dennis/Cllr James McAsh (maternity cover) – Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Sustainable Development

Councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE – Cabinet Member for Community Safety

Councillor Darren Merrill – Cabinet Member for Council Homes and Homelessness

Councillor Catherine Rose – Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Streets & Clean Air

Councillor Martin Seaton – Cabinet Member for Jobs, Business and Town Centres


The majority opposition party in Southwark Council is the Liberal Democrat party who have spokespeople for each portfolio within the cabinet.

EDI Statement

Our workforce Equality, Diversity and Inclusion statement


Southwark Council celebrates the richness of our diverse communities and we are proud of our borough.
We commit to paying special attention to the needs of all our diverse communities with particular focus on our most vulnerable residents and will be inclusive in the ways we co-create and co-design services with our residents.


We recognise that we may not have always got this right in the past but we are dedicated to intensifying our commitments to strengthen engagement with staff, residents, businesses and the wider community in order to shape and deliver on the promise of a fairer future for all.

Council Delivery Plan

Fairer, Greener, Safer Southwark’s Council Delivery Plan

Our priorities and promises to Southwark residents


This Council Delivery Plan sets out our priorities and our commitments to the people of Southwark until 2026.


It’s an action plan, which will drive the work of the entire council and focus our resource and time to ensure we’re pulling together so we can make our borough fairer, greener and safer for all our residents.


Our plan is set out in seven separate themes:

  • Transforming our borough
  • A thriving and inclusive economy
  • A healthy environment
  • Quality, affordable homes
  • Keeping you safe
  • Investing in communities
  • Supporting families

These themes will describe how we answer the big questions – tackle the rising cost of living, building more council homes, reducing our carbon emissions, creating new jobs and opportunities and protecting the borough’s mental & physical health.


But this plan also sets out how we will get the basics right – supporting our young people to succeed at school, ensuring our older people are cared for, keeping our streets clean and ensuring our homes and neighbourhoods are safe and well looked after.


Our values in action

Everything that we do as a council is to work towards a fairer, safer and greener Southwark. Our values inform how we will do this, and will guide our decisions and determine how we deliver on the commitments that we’ve made.


Since 2010, when we first stated our vision, many of the challenges have changed and some of the solutions have too, but our values remain as strong as ever. We remain committed to supporting, standing up for and empowering residents. Our residents are still at the heart of everything we do and they’ve helped us form the values that underpin the work of the council.


This is why in 2020, when the pandemic took hold and revealed even further the stark inequalities we face, we strengthened our values statement to include a commitment to equality and our opposition to discrimination and racism. As times change we will continue to review and update our values. These values will continue to inform all the work we do across the council and what you can expect from us.

We will:

  • Treat residents as if they were a valued member of our own family
  • Be open, honest and accountable
  • Work for everyone to realise their own potential
  • Spend money as if it were from our own pocket
  • Make Southwark a place to be proud of
  • Always work to make Southwark more equal and just
  • Stand against all forms of discrimination and racism

Read the full Council Delivery Plan here.

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