About us

About Us

Central London Forward (CLF) is the strategic sub-regional partnership for Central London covering the local authorities of Camden, the City of London, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster.

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 eight member boroughs (Camden, the City of London, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Wandsworth and Westminster) joined by four associate member boroughs (Hackney, Haringey, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets) for our work on employment and skills.

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Members

Board

Ravi Govindia (Chair)

Councillor Ravi Govindia is the Chair of Central London Forward and 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 (Deputy Chair)

Cllr Peter John OBE has been the leader of Southwark council since May 2010, and is portfolio lead for Central London Forward on employment and skills.

He was born in Weston-super-Mare and attended his local comprehensive school, before going on to study law at the University of London. After graduating in 1988 he became a barrister.

He was elected as a councillor for South Camberwell Ward in 2002 and after serving as group chief whip became leader of Southwark Labour in 2004.

Nickie Aiken

Councillor Nickie Aiken is the leader of City of Westminster Council.

During her time as a Cabinet Member, Cllr Aiken has been responsible for the ‘Your Choice’ programme, a scheme working to decrease youth and gang violence in Westminster. As well as the launch of ‘Breaking the Silence’, Westminster’s acclaimed domestic abuse strategy, she was also instrumental in overseeing the move to a Tri-borough arrangement for Children’s Services which was the first of its kind in the UK.

Elizabeth Campbell

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.

Elizabeth previously held the cabinet post for families and children’s services since 2013, and before this the cabinet post for education services and libraries.

Georgia Gould

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

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.

Lib Peck

Councillor Lib Peck has been the Leader of Lambeth Council since 2012, and a councillor for the Thornton ward since 2001; she topped the poll and received a majority of over 1500 on May 3rd 2018. She leads a large majority group in Lambeth, with Labour holding 57 out of the 63 available council seats.

As Leader of the Council, Lib is responsible for setting the overall political and strategic direction for Lambeth. Over the next four years, her key priorities are to bring inward jobs and investment to the borough; to make Lambeth cleaner and greener; and to help ensure the health and wellbeing of all residents.

Lib is the deputy leader of the Labour group at the Local Government Association, and the deputy chair of London Councils.

Richard Watts

Councillor Richard Watts is 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.

Damien Egan

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

Philip Glanville was elected Mayor of Hackney in September 2016, becoming the borough's second directly elected Mayor.

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.

Joseph Ejiofor

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor is the leader of Haringey Council.

John Biggs

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.

Team

Diarmid Swainson, Director

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.

Jo Asphall, Head of Programmes

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.

Bill Davies, Head of Policy

Bill Davies leads on policy development, covering employment, housing, tax and skills at Central London Forward.

Before joining CLF, Bill worked as a Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), leading on housing policy and welfare-to-work, and previously lectured on public policy at a number of universities.

Bill has a PhD for analysing the development of UK welfare-to-work programmes.

Fela Ayinde, Central London Works Finance Manager

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).

Laurence Knott, Senior Programme Manager Construction Careers

Laurence runs our Construction Careers programme.

Prior to joining CLF in March 2018 Laurence has undertaken consultancy and interim management for a wide variety of economic development, construction and employment support programmes since 2005. Before establishing his consultancy Laurence worked as a programme manager and town planner on major regeneration programmes in the boroughs of Camden and Hackney.

As a qualified coach and therapist Laurence also has a personal interest in helping unemployed people overcome the barriers and challenges they face in entering and progressing in the labour market.

Alison Latouche, CLF Business Manager

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 Gray, Senior Contract Manager

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 Mudhar, Outreach and Brokerage Manager

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.