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

Richard Watts (Chair)

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 (Deputy Chair)

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.

Ravi Govindia

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

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Joseph Ejiofor

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

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, 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).

Alison Latouche, 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.

Meghan Meek-O'Connor, Policy Officer (Skills and Employment)

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 Noehrbass, Policy Officer (Land & Infrastructure)

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 Gould, Project Officer

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.

Nanita Sohal, Contract Manager

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.

Nicolina Kheir, Compliance & Risk Officer

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 Spencer, Compliance & Risk Officer

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.

Lindsay Beevers, Outreach & Brokerage Adviser

Lindsay is an Outreach and Brokerage Adviser for the Construction Careers programme, based at the Construction Skills Centre in Kings Cross.

Before joining CLF in August 2018, Lindsay worked in various Welfare to Work and recruitment roles, ranging from Employment Advice to Quality Improvement, helping unemployed people across London. Prior to this, Lindsay graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA Hons in Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies.

In her spare time, Lindsay regularly volunteers for Shelter and has recently completed the Great North Run for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Georgina Hunter-Gordon, Programme Officer

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 with colleagues Barbara Ioannou (Working Capital Programme Manager) 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 Garcha, Outreach & Brokerage Adviser

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 Lorimer, Outreach & Brokerage Adviser

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.

Christopher Lewis, Outreach & Brokerage Adviser

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 3rd sector organisations to support people with multiple barriers turn their lives around.

Kharima Dada, Senior Programme Manager

Kharima oversees the CLF Construction Careers programme with her passion aligned with regeneration and maximising opportunities for marginalised groups.

Kharima has over 10 years’ experience working with employment and skills and has spent the last few years working on section 106 with contractors to ensure added value and a contribution via procurement, employment and skills. Kharima led on the development of the Women on the Tools Brokerage and was responsible for creating opportunities for women wanting to enter the construction sector.

Over the years Kharima has championed transforming the perceptions of the industry and would like to see more young people and women encouraged to pursue opportunities.

Barbara Ioannou, Programme Manager

Barbara joined CLF in October 2018 as Programme Manager, overseeing the delivery of the Working Capital programme.

Barbara has managed National and European funding and has strong experience in managing EU audits and ensuring good quality assurance and governance. Barbara has worked across the UK and overseas and has a good track record in ensuring programmes are meaningful and responsive.

Before joining CLF, Barbara provided ESF support and compliance testing to Big Lottery grant holders and FE colleges with ESF funding.

Barbara has around 20 years’ experience of management in the public, private and third sectors.