Hackney London Borough Council
Coat of arms or logo
Sheila Suso-Runge,
since 15 May 2024[1]
Caroline Woodley,
since 9 November 2023
Chief Executive (interim)
Dawn Carter-McDonald
since August 2023[2]
Seats57 councillors plus elected mayor[3]
Political groups
Administration (46)
  Labour (46)
Other parties (11)
  Conservative (6)
  Independent (3)
  Green (2)
Vacant (1)
  Vacant (1)
First past the post
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
7 May 2026
Meeting place
Town Hall, Mare Street, Hackney, London, E8 1EA

Hackney London Borough Council, also known as Hackney Council, is the local authority for the London Borough of Hackney, in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in London. The council has been under Labour majority control since 2002. Since 2002 the council has been led by a directly elected mayor. The council meets at Hackney Town Hall and has its main offices in the adjoining Hackney Service Centre.


There has been a Hackney local authority since 1856 when the Hackney District was created covering the two ancient parishes of Hackney and Stoke Newington, governed by an elected board. It was one of the lower tier authorities within the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works, which was established to provide services across the metropolis of London.[4] In 1889 the Metropolitan Board of Works' area was made the County of London. The Hackney District was dissolved in 1894 and the vestries of each parish took on the functions previously exercised by the district board.[5] In 1900 the lower tier of local government across London was reorganised into metropolitan boroughs, each with a borough council, including Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington.[6]

The London Borough of Hackney and its council were created under the London Government Act 1963, with the first election held in 1964.[7] For its first year the council acted as a shadow authority alongside the area's outgoing authorities, being the councils of the three metropolitan boroughs of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington.[8] The new council formally came into its powers on 1 April 1965, at which point the old boroughs and their councils were abolished.[9] The council's full legal name is "The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Hackney".[10]

From 1965 until 1986 the council was a lower-tier authority, with upper-tier functions provided by the Greater London Council. The split of powers and functions meant that the Greater London Council was responsible for "wide area" services such as fire, ambulance, flood prevention, and refuse disposal; with the boroughs (including Hackney) responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, cemeteries and refuse collection. The Greater London Council was abolished in 1986 and its functions passed to the London Boroughs, with some services provided through joint committees.[11] Hackney became a local education authority in 1990 when the Inner London Education Authority was dissolved.[12]

In the 1980s and early 1990s the left-wing Labour council clashed with the Conservative government on numerous occasions, notably during the rate-capping rebellion in 1985 and over the poll tax in 1990, with Hackney being one of the centres of the poll tax riots.[13]

An independent inquiry in 1998 was highly critical of the council's handling of its investigations into one of its social workers, employed between 1981 and 1993, against whom a number of complaints of child sexual abuse had been made but he had been allowed to continue working. His position as a Labour activist and trade union official was said to have hindered proper investigations. The social worker himself was never convicted, having died of an AIDS-related illness in 1995, but the police subsequently reported that they had been about to arrest him at the time of his death.[14][15] The local Labour party split when the allegations were made public, which was a contributory factor to the council going under no overall control for a number of years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.[16]

Since 2000 the Greater London Authority has taken some responsibility for highways and planning control from the council, but within the English local government system the council remains a "most purpose" authority in terms of the available range of powers and functions.[17]

Powers and functions

The local authority derives its powers and functions from the London Government Act 1963 and subsequent legislation, and has the powers and functions of a London borough council. It sets council tax and as a billing authority also collects precepts for Greater London Authority functions and business rates.[18] It sets planning policies which complement Greater London Authority and national policies, and decides on almost all planning applications accordingly. It is a local education authority and is also responsible for council housing, social services, libraries, waste collection and disposal, traffic, and most roads and environmental health.[19]

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since 2002.

The first election was held in 1964, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until it came into its powers on 1 April 1965. Political control of the council since 1965 has been as follows:[20]

Party in control Years
Labour 1965–1968
Conservative 1968–1971
Labour 1971–1998
No overall control 1998–2002
Labour 2002–present


Prior to 2002, political leadership was provided by the leader of the council and the mayor was a ceremonial role. The leaders from 1965 to 2002 were:[21]

Councillor Party From To
Martin Ottolangui Labour 1965 1968
Charles Hegerty Conservative 1968 1970
Don Bridgehouse Conservative 1970 1971
Martin Ottolangui Labour 1971 1981
John Kotz Labour 1981 1982
Anthony Kendall Labour 1982 1984
Hilda Kean[22] Labour 1984 1985
Tony Milwood Labour 1985 1986
Andrew Puddephat Labour 1986 1990
John McCafferty Labour 1990 1995
Nick Tallentire Labour 1995 1996
No leader (committees chaired by rotation) 1996 2001
Jules Pipe[23] Labour Jun 2001 20 Oct 2002

In 2002 the council changed to having a directly elected Mayor of Hackney with executive powers. The ceremonial functions previously exercised by the mayor are now undertaken by a speaker instead. The mayors since 2002 have been:[24]

Mayor Party From To
Jules Pipe Labour 21 Oct 2002 20 Jul 2016
Philip Glanville Labour Co-op 19 Sept 2016 22 Sept 2023
Caroline Woodley Labour 10 Nov 2023


See also: Hackney London Borough Council elections and List of electoral wards in Hackney

Since the last boundary changes in 2014 the council has comprised the elected mayor plus 57 councillors representing 21 wards, with each ward electing two or three councillors. Elections are held every four years.[25]

Following the 2022 election and subsequent by-elections and changes of allegiance up to May 2024, the composition of the council (excluding the elected mayor's seat) was as follows:[26]

Party Councillors
Labour 45
Conservative 6
Independent 3
Green 2
Vacant 1
Total 57

A by-election to fill the vacant seat is due on 27 June 2024. The next full council election is due in May 2026.


The council meets at Hackney Town Hall on Mare Street, which was completed in 1937 for the old Hackney Borough Council.[27]

Hackney Service Centre, 1 Hillman Street, Hackney, London, E8 1DY: Council's main offices since 2010

The council has its main offices at the Hackney Service Centre at 1 Hillman Street, immediately west of the Town Hall. The Service Centre was completed for the council in 2010.[28][29]


  1. ^ "Council meeting, 15 May 2024". Hackney Council. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  2. ^ "Chief Executive update". Hackney Council. 14 July 2023. Retrieved 6 April 2024.
  3. ^ "Open Council Data UK - compositions councillors parties wards elections".
  4. ^ Metropolis Management Act 1855 (18 & 19 Vict. c. 120)
  5. ^ "Stoke Newington: Local government | British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk.
  6. ^ London Government Act 1899 (62 & 63 Vict. c. 14)
  7. ^ "London Government Act 1963", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1978 c. 33, retrieved 16 May 2024
  8. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0901050679.
  9. ^ Youngs, Frederic (1979). Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England. Vol. I: Southern England. London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0901050679.
  10. ^ "Can a term be implied into a UK lease so that it makes business sense?". Lexology. 23 May 2023. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  11. ^ "Local Government Act 1985", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1985 c. 51, retrieved 5 April 2024
  12. ^ Education Reform Act 1988 (c. 40)
  13. ^ Walker, David; Smithers, Rebecca (19 March 1999). "Borough of hate and hit squads". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  14. ^ "Council criticised over paedophile scandal". BBC News. 7 January 1998. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  15. ^ Cooper, Glenda (8 January 1998). "Children at risk: Council condemned in child abuse inquiry". The Independent. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  16. ^ Rentoul, John (12 September 1996). "Hackney council splits over inquiry". The Independent. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  17. ^ Leach, Steve (1998). Local Government Reorganisation: The Review and its Aftermath. Routledge. p. 107. ISBN 978-0714648590.
  18. ^ "Council Tax and Business Rates Billing Authorities". Council Tax Rates. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Local Plan Responses – within and outside London". Mayor of London. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  21. ^ "London Boroughs Political Almanac". London Councils. Archived from the original on 16 January 2022. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  22. ^ "Kean, Hilda". Bishopsgate Institute. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  23. ^ "Jules Pipe: Labour candidate for Mayor of Hackney". Hackney Citizen. 24 April 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  24. ^ "Mayoral elections". Hackney Council. Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  25. ^ "The Hackney (Electoral Changes) Order 2013", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2013/2795, retrieved 6 April 2024
  26. ^ "Hackney". Local Councils. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  27. ^ Historic England. "Hackney Town Hall (Grade II) (1235869)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 April 2024.
  28. ^ "Contact us". Hackney Council. Retrieved 6 April 2024.
  29. ^ "Hackney Service Centre" (PDF). Spaces (35). London: The Hackney Society: 1. Winter 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2024.