Central London Forward (CLF) is the strategic sub-regional partnership for Central London covering 12 local authorities.
Established in 2007, CLF exists to advocate and support the collective interests of its membership through the provision of strategic policy advice, research, advocacy and programme management.
Our goal is to improve the lives of our residents by working together to drive inclusive growth within the Central London area, to ensure our resident’s access the skills, jobs, homes, and support required to benefit from Central London’s dynamic economy.
Our membership is made up of ten member boroughs (Camden, the City of London, Hackney, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster) joined by two associate member boroughs (Haringey & Lewisham) for our work on employment and skills.
Councillor Richard Watts is the Chair of Central London Forward and Leader of Islington Council and has represented the Tollington Ward in the north of Islington since 2006.
Previously, Richard served as Executive Member for Children and Families from May 2010 and Executive Member for Finance and Performance from May 2013 until becoming Council Leader in October 2013.
Prior to being a full-time member of the Council Executive Richard ran the Children's Food Campaign, a national campaign to improve children's diets.
Elizabeth Campbell was elected Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in July 2017, having been elected to the Redcliffe ward in 2006 and Royal Hospital ward in 2010. Since her election as leader, Elizabeth has made it her priority to ensure RBKC acts in accordance with its new core values: putting communities first, respecting others, acting with integrity and working together.
Elizabeth previously held the cabinet post for Families and Children’s services since 2012 where she was praised by Ofsted for excellent leadership. Before this, she held the cabinet post for education services and libraries. She also served as the Chair of Governors at Chelsea Academy from 2013 - 2017.
Councillor Ravi Govindia is the Leader of Wandsworth Council. Ravi has served the authority as a Conservative councillor since 1982. During his local government career Ravi has specialised in the fields of planning, housing, economic development and regeneration.
Ravi's achievements include the redevelopment of Wandsworth's industrial riverside and the transformation of Nine Elms on the South Bank. This regeneration programme is underpinned with a £1bn Government guarantee for the Northern Line Extension and includes sites earmarked for the new US and Dutch Embassies.
Peter John became a councillor in Southwark in 2002, Leader of the Labour Group in 2004 and became Leader of the Council following the local elections in 2010.
Under Peter’s leadership Southwark has become known for its’ progressive policies on regeneration, employment, council house building and public health. Since 2010 Southwark has seen an increase in its employment rate of more than 10%, with more than 40,000 more residents now in work.
Peter is the Chair of London Councils. He has been a member of the London Enterprise Action Panel since 2013 and is Chair of the Mayor’s Construction Skills Advisory Group.
Councillor Rachael Robathan was appointed Leader of City of Westminster Council in January 2020.
In 2010, Cllr Robathan was elected to Westminster City Council to represent the Knightsbridge and Belgravia Ward. Before becoming Leader she has previously held the Cabinet Member portfolios for Finance, Property and Regeneration; Housing and Adults and Public Health and was Deputy Cabinet Member for both the Adult Services and Customer Services portfolios. Cllr Robathan has also sat on the Finance and Children’s Policy and Scrutiny Committees and Planning Committees.
Georgia was appointed Leader of Camden Council in May 2017 and has served as a Councillor for Kentish Town Ward since 2010.
Georgia studied Politics and History at Oxford, and then graduated with a master's degree in global politics from the London School of Economics.
Georgia has a particular interest in youth politics and published a book called Wasted: How Misunderstanding Young Britain Threatens Our Future. Georgia also helped found Camden’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Commission, designed to understand the future skills market and link them strongly with schools and Further Education, guaranteeing opportunities for young people.
Catherine McGuinness is the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee at the City of London Corporation, and a member of the CLF Employment and Skills Board.
Catherine is a specialist in financial law, and was for several years a partner in a City law firm advising a number of international financial institutions, headed the London legal department of a major European bank, and as a consultant in the financial sector.
On the City of London Corporation she has particular interest in arts and culture, education, open spaces. Catherine is a member of the governing body for The City Academy, Hackney, which is co-sponsored by the City and by KPMG, as well as the board of the Barbican Centre.
Cllr Jack Hopkins was confirmed as Leader of Lambeth Council on the 13th February 2019.
The Leader of the Council is responsible for setting the overall political and strategic direction for the council; acts as the lead spokesperson and manages external relations including with Government, the GLA and local and regional bodies; as well as managing the council’s relations with key stakeholders, partners and investors and holding the council’s Chief Executive to account.
The Leader also oversees communications and public awareness campaigns.
Cllr Hopkins first worked at Lambeth as an officer in the Strategic Partnership and Chief Executive’s office in 2005.
Damien was elected as a councillor for Lewisham Central ward in 2010 and became Lewisham’s Cabinet Member for Housing in 2014.
Before becoming mayor, Damien worked for the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). The ETI is an NGO that protects workers in sweatshops around the world and fights modern slavery.
Damien was elected as mayor in May 2018. He is passionate about improving the lives of Lewisham’s residents. As Mayor of Lewisham he has committed to build a further 1,000 council homes, make Lewisham a borough of sanctuary for refugees and double the number of Living Wage employers in the borough.
Philip Glanville was elected Mayor of Hackney in September 2016 and re-elected in May 2018.
Philip was previously a councillor in Hoxton for ten years, and spent three years as Cabinet Member for Housing before becoming Deputy Mayor in 2016.
As Mayor, Philip has committed the Council to doubling the number of council homes built from 2018, and for Hackney to become the first borough in London to build 500 Living Rent homes - where no-one pays more than a third of their income in rent.
Employment, skills and education are also a key priority for the Mayor.
Cllr Joseph Ejiofor has been the leader of Haringey Council since May 2018.
Cllr Ejiofor was previously the Deputy Leader, and held two different Cabinet portfolios. In addition to serving 8 years as an elected representative for Haringey, he has also been elected three times as a Councillor in Newham.
Over the past 18 years, Cllr Ejiofor has worked as a manager in the public, private and the voluntary sectors; specialising in ‘risk and performance management’ and ‘diversity and change management’. Over the past couple of years, he has worked in a number of freelance consultancy roles specialising in iBusiness development.
Cllr Ejiofor is also a member of the London Capital Credit Union, Unite and the Co-op Party.
John Biggs was elected as the Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets in June 2015, and re-elected in May 2018.
John was first elected to Tower Hamlets Council in 1988 and became Leader in 1994. In 2000 he was elected as the first Greater London Authority Assembly Member for City and East London, chairing the Assembly Budget and Performance Committee, but stood down in 2016 to concentrate on Tower Hamlets.
In his role as Mayor of Tower Hamlets John is working to improve the openness and transparency of the Council, to increase the availability of affordable housing for residents, to improve access to employment and training opportunities for local people, and to improve the physical environment of the borough.
Diarmid leads our work across programmes and policy development as well as leading CLF’s work to secure further devolution for Central London and London boroughs.
Diarmid has worked in local and central government in a range of policy, performance and stakeholder management roles. Before joining CLF in May 2017 Diarmid was a Deputy Director in the Cities & Local Growth Unit in DCLG and BEIS working on devolving powers and funding to local areas through City Deals, Devolution Deals and Local Growth Deals.
Joanne Asphall leads the commissioning strategy for new employment programmes.
Joanne joined CLF in July 2015 and gained her experience while leading Welfare reform services for disadvantaged communities across West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
Joanne is currently responsible for leading the commissioning for Work and Health programme and integrating the Working Capital programme across the 8 Central London Forward boroughs.
Fela is the Finance Manager for the Central London Works programme. She is a Chartered Accountant with considerable post qualification experience.
Fela has worked in both the public and private sectors in a range of financial management and audit roles. Before joining CLF in March 2018 she was the Finance and Corporate Services Manager for Central London Connexions (Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea).
Alison is the CLF Business Manager and is responsible for supporting the CLF Director and Leadership team to effectively manage the varied work of CLF and deliver the objectives of the CLF Board.
Before joining CLF, Alison worked for Clarins UK Ltd where she gained a number of years’ experience of providing support with staff training, supporting projects and events. Prior to this, Alison worked at Central London Connexions (Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea) as Office Manager for 7 years, where she gained experience of Business Management, partnership working and funded programmes.
Ray oversees our Central London Works programme.
Ray has been in the Employment and Skills Sector for 15 years, working across Quality, Business Intelligence, Supply Chain Management and Operational Delivery, he has led on implementation and delivery of contracts across England from Employment Zones through to the Work Programmes and ESF 14-20 Skills provision. He has managed contracts across London since 2010 including the Work Programme and Work Choice.
Ray was involved in creating and piloting the Merlin Standard which has become the measure of Supply Chain excellence within the sector.
Gurpreet is the Outreach and Brokerage Manager for the Construction Careers programme equipped with 12 years of experience in Employability and Recruitment.
Before joining CLF in July Gurpreet managed teams across a range of funded programmes that provided training and recruitment opportunities to the unemployed across London. More recently, she was the Recruitment Manager at Axis Integrated Services leading the delivery of the recruitment and brand strategy both locally and nationally.
Gurpreet has a degree in Communication Studies and 20 years’ experience in providing Voluntary and Radio Broadcasting services to local communities.
Meghan is a policy officer at CLF leading on employment and skills.
Before joining CLF in June 2018, Meghan completed a Masters in Public Policy from Sciences Po, Paris, where she specialised in Social Policy and Innovation.
Meghan has worked in a number of policy research roles, including working on educational planning at UNESCO, and researching poverty metrics at WPI Economics.
Alison leads Central London Forward’s policy and project development on infrastructure, land and regeneration topics.
Prior to joining CLF, Alison worked in the Project’s Directorate of the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg.
Alison holds a MSc Infrastructure Planning Appraisal and Development from the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London, and bachelor degrees in Political Science and Philosophy from Wellesley College.
Elena is the Project Officer for Central London Works, supporting the Senior Contract Manager.
During and following her Master’s in Education, Elena provided Lecturing and Student Support at Canterbury Christ Church University, assisting a handful of Social Science research and strategic partnership projects. She played an important role in supporting the Student Experience department with their initiatives to bridge the gap between student cultures and local communities.
Shortly before joining CLF, Elena managed internal compliance projects, including GDPR, at Tasker Insurance Group Ltd.
Nicolina is the Compliance & Risk Officer for the Central London Works Programme.
Prior to joining CLF in August 2018, Nicolina held the post as ESF Product Specialist for a leading training provider.
Nicolina managed and monitored the compliance and regulatory risks of multiple ESF contracts, ensuring that the quality standards of the delivery process were met.
Nicolina played an important role in managing and implementing MI systems, supporting management of projects and creating policies for the smooth operations of the programmes.
Nicolina holds a Degree in Law and a MSc in Finance & Risk management.
Nadine is the Compliance & Risk Officer for Central London Works.
Prior to joining CLF, Nadine worked mainly within the Welfare to Work sector.
Nadine delivered on a variety of contracts including ESF, SSU, Work Programme and AEB over the last 7 years and managed teams that supported numerous participants in to sustainable employment.
During the 4 years that she worked on the Work Programme, she quickly progressed through the ranks from an Advisor to a Centre Manager which enabled her to attain a vast skill set. Nadine has consistently implemented delivery strategies and processes to ensure she exceeds the expectations of both clients and stakeholders.
Georgina joined CLF in September 2018 and is the Programme Officer for the Working Capital Programme, working closely with Working Capital’s sole provider, APM and Jo Asphall (Head of Programmes) to ensure effective programme support.
Georgina has previous experience in Project Management for Westminster City Council and Centre Management at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
Georgina is a keen Geographer and holds BA and MA degrees in Geography from King’s College London.
Gurverinder is the Construction Career’s Outreach & Brokerage Adviser and is embedded within the Westminster Employment Services team.
Gurverinder has a strong Welfare to Work background working on lucrative contracts such as Work Programme, ESF Youth Programme and Individual Placement Support (IPS). Gurverinder also has experience of working within the Education and Skills industry, his most recent role was managing apprenticeship provisions for academies to utilise their existing levy budget.
Gurverinder has a degree in Business Management and has a strong passion to help individuals to maximise on their potential.
Eamonn is an Outreach and Brokerage Adviser for the Construction Careers programme and is responsible for recruiting Lambeth residents into construction careers.
Prior to joining CLF, Eamonn worked at various Further Education colleges as an Education Consultant and on apprenticeship, work experience and employability projects. He has also been a Progression Mentor with the Prince’s Trust and had a successful career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in HM’s Diplomatic Service.
Eamonn is passionate about supporting people to develop and progress to be successful as well as to open up career and job opportunities available to them.
Chris is an Outreach and Brokerage Adviser for the Construction Careers programme and is responsible for recruiting residents in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
Chris has extensive experience of working with ex-offenders, long term unemployed, ex forces, ESOL, Lone Parents, debt, drug and alcohol, housing and mental and physical health issues and has worked in the welfare to work sector for the past 17 years, across Southwark, Brent, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea.
Chris has worked with private, public, and third sector organisations to support people with multiple barriers turn their lives around.
Caroline is an Outreach and Brokerage Adviser for the Construction Careers programme and is based within the City of London
Caroline is an experienced recruiter who has worked in construction since 2006 and has recruited across various sectors within the public and commercial sector.
Caroline has gained her experience whilst recruiting blue and white collar operatives within the construction/social housing and facilities management industries.
Deborah is an Outreach and Brokerage Adviser for the Construction Careers programme and is based at IWork employment service, Islington.
Deborah has a strong Welfare to Work background specialising in construction focused skills and employability. For over 10 years she has advised, mentored and supported unemployed people through a variety of initiatives designed to raise the awareness of the construction industry.
Deborah's most recent role was the Women into Construction East London lead on the Thames Tideway project, where she joined the skills and employment team and supported Tideway’s initiatives set out to achieve 50% women employed on this project and work towards addressing gender equality in construction.
Jenny leads the work of the policy team in lobbying on behalf of and supporting the collective interests of CLF’s member boroughs.
Jenny has over eight years’ experience in the charity and public sectors, working in a range of policy and research related roles at organisations including London Councils, Scope and the Work Foundation, developing specialisms in labour market disadvantage and creating inclusive economies.
Jenny joined CLF in July 2019 from London Councils where she led the organisation’s policy activity on employment and economic growth and supported the devolution of the Work and Health Programme in London.
Aaron joined CLF in July 2019 as the Project Officer for the Central London Works Programme, working closely with the team to support the effective implementation of the scheme.
Prior to joining CLF, Aaron gained four years of project management experience within marketing technology start-ups where he led the delivery of campaigns for key accounts including major FMCG and beauty brands. There he developed skills in stakeholder management, data analysis, and community engagement while being instrumental in developing business-wide processes and KPIs.
Aaron holds a degree in International Business with Japanese and a qualification in Rescue Scuba Diving.
Ade is an Outreach and Brokerage Adviser for the Construction Careers programme and is based in Camden.
Prior to working for CLF, Ade worked as a Construction Sales Executive selling exhibition space to some of the largest construction companies in the world.
After a few years of working in sales, Ade joined the welfare to work sector as a Recruitment Manager supporting local residents into local jobs and or Training.
Ade has a great passion for people and enjoys helping them realise their career goals and full potential.
For over 10 years, Ade has coached a Basketball team for 10– 19-year-olds, although he doesn't get to play as much, he enjoys watching his team play competitively.
Nanita is the Contract Manager for the Central London Works programme.
With over 11 years’ experience, Nanita has worked across public, private and the third sector when supporting disadvantaged groups into employment.
Before joining CLF in July 2018, Nanita worked as a Contracts & Relationship Manager for BIG Lottery funded projects in Birmingham, improving services for people with multiple and complex needs.
Nanita holds a degree in Psychology, and qualifications in Counselling and Information, Advice and Guidance.