|This article relies on references to primary sources. (January 2008)|
London Councils is the local government association for London, England, bringing together representatives of the 32 London Boroughs and the City of London Corporation, the Metropolitan Police Authority and the London Fire Brigade who are all members by subscription. In October 2006 it changed its name from the Association of London Government ('ALG') in order to refocus its role and avoid confusion with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Local Government Association (LGA). London Councils is based on Southwark Street, near London Bridge.
London Councils fights for more resources for London and is committed to getting the best possible deal for London's 33 councils. It also develops policy, lobbies government and others, and runs a range of direct services designed to make life better for Londoners.
London Councils represents London local government to national government, European institutions, business and other bodies, lobbying for investment and funding. The direct services it provides on behalf of the boroughs, include the Freedom Pass providing more than a 1.2 million older, disabled and blind people free travel on London’s buses, tubes and trains, and the Parking and Traffic Appeals (PATAS) service, the Taxicard and Lorry Control schemes, London Care Placements and NOTIFY - the service that helps homeless families access services. The grants committee provides funding for many local groups who work across London boroughs on issues such as employment, domestic violence, poverty and advocacy and also distributes European Social Fund grants.
The ALG came out of a merger between the London Boroughs Association and the Association of London Authorities in 1995. The ALA consisted of many, mainly Labour, councils which had left the LBA in the 1980s. The ALG itself merged with several other small organisations upon the creation of the Greater London Authority in 2000. The GLA was a member of the ALG for a period, before Mayor Ken Livingstone fell out with leading councillors and withdrew. The two organisations do coordinate their work however.
The Chairman of London Councils, since the Labour Party regained control in 2010, is Mayor Jules Pipe CBE of the London Borough of Hackney. Previously Labour's Lord Toby Harris (of Haringey) was Chair from 1995 to 2000 and Sir Robin Wales, directly elected Labour Mayor of Newham, was chair from 2000 to 2006. Merrick Cockell of Kensington and Chelsea served as Chairman between 2006 and 2010, the first Conservative to do so.
In 2008, a new directorate of London Councils was formed: Capital Ambition. This was formed from the merger of the previous London Centre of Excellence, London Connects and London's regional improvement and efficienty partnership, Capital Ambition. Over the three-year period (2008-11), Capital Ambition provided funding for projects run by London's authorities and local strategic partnerships that were designed to deliver efficiencies, improve performance and support innovative ways of working. Capital Ambition is now closed to new applications for funding although funding for some existing projects will continue until 2015.
London Councils is run by a committee made up of all the leaders of London's borough councils and meet each month (except August) to discuss and agree policy issues of importance to Londoners and their councils. The committee is supported by a cross-party executive of eleven senior members which acts as a forum for detailed policy development. Each member of the executive holds a specific policy area portfolio. Politically, the Executive comprises councillors in proportion to the party representation on London councils.