Camden Council Leader to leave post in November

Camden Council's Leader, Cllr (Dame) Jane Roberts today (Friday 23 September) announced her decision not to stand for the position of Leader in forthcoming internal council elections.

Cllr Roberts will hand over leadership of the council on 7 November after nearly six years in position. Her successor will be proposed in a ballot of the Labour group of councillors on 3 October at their Extraordinary General Meeting*.  The new Leader and members of the Executive will then be elected by Full Council on 7 November.

Cllr Roberts was elected to the council in 1990 and made Leader in May 2000.  She was awarded the DBE in the 2004 New Year's Honours List for her services to local government.

Speaking of her decision, Cllr Roberts said:

"Camden is a wonderful place and I feel immensely privileged to have had the chance to work for its many engaged and committed residents for almost six years. It is after considerable thought and reflection that I have decided not to stand for the position of Council Leader.  

"I have loved every minute of my time at Camden Council. Being Leader has unquestionably been the best job I've ever had.  This has made my decision extremely difficult, but I have always felt the art of leadership includes knowing when to let go.

"I know that I will be leaving at a time when the running of the council is in extremely capable hands of both its well-established Chief Executive and talented group of Executive Members.  The new council structure and its emphasis on well-coordinated, efficient services will provide the ideal start to a dynamic new Leader and their Executive team.

"During almost six years as Leader, I have been enormously proud of the council's many achievements - not least being rated among the top local authorities in the country and winning the prestigious award of 'Council of the Year'.  However, it is our residents' experiences that matter most. Camden is a challenging and exciting borough and we don't always get our services right.  But trust in the council is now at an all-time high - up 10 per cent since 2002 - which I hope reflects the commitment we've put in to getting our services right.

"We've listened to what people really want and sought to rectify any mistakes.  In recent years our streets have improved and are now among the cleanest in London - and residents tell us they can see the difference.  Our ever-popular schools continue to offer some of the best education in the capital.  We've taken up our communities' call for more action on crime and anti-social behaviour.  Working together with the police and partners we have seen crime fall by 9 per cent street crime in some areas fall by around 60 per cent.  People in need of homes benefit from Camden's high quality housing and homelessness service. Our commitment to the environment has led us to having the highest recycling rate in inner London.

"Many of our parks and open spaces have been transformed - making such a difference to the environment of the borough.  Many parks have been restored to their former glory and more than three quarters of residents rate Camden's parks and open spaces highly. Another area of huge investment has been our libraries and leisure centres, including the new Swiss Cottage development, which will provide state of the art facilities for young and old.

"Local government plays such a crucial role in everyday life and is often much under-valued.  I now look forward to seeing the council move from strength to strength with a new structure and leadership in the years to come. "

Notes to editors

Cllr Roberts will be available for one-to one interviews on the afternoon of Friday 23 September. For further information or to arrange an interview please contact
Susannah Agathou
Camden Council press office
Phone: 020 7974 2464

  • *Camden Council's Executive made a decision to move to a more streamlined structure geared towards providing better services to residents - particularly young people - in April this year. The new council structure will see the existing five service departments move to three directorates - integrating Schools, Early Years and Play with Children's Social Services, Leisure with Environment and Housing with Adult Social Care.  The Extraordinary General Meeting in October will agree both the new Leader and the new Executive Members to reflect these new arrangements. The new Leader and members of the Executive will then be elected by Full Council on 7 November.
  • Cllr Roberts will not stand for election as Haverstock ward councillor in the local elections in May 2006.
Cllr Dame Jane Roberts Biography

Councillor Dame Roberts has been a Councillor for 15 years. She was, for two years until elected Leader in May 2000, the Chair of Camden's Beacon education service. Earlier in the 1990s she instigated and completed a major nursery expansion programme across Camden. Under her leadership Camden Council was voted Council of the Year 2002.

In her professional life, she is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Medical Director at Islington Primary Care Trust.  She has published a number of academic papers in paediatrics, psychiatry and child psychiatry and was co-editor and contributor to 'The Politics of Attachment' (Free Association Books; 1996).

Cllr Jane Roberts lives in Camden. She is a Patron for Progress, the independent organisation for Labour Party members and trade unionists. 

She was awarded the DBE in the 2004 New Year's Honours List for her services to local government.

Contact info

Susannah Agathou

020 7974 2464

Reference code: 05/270
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