Jack Hopkins, the leader of Lambeth council, announced today (10 May) that he has decided to stand down.
Since being elected leader more than two years ago, Hopkins has headed the council through one of the most challenging periods in its history, as the pandemic placed immense demands on the council and its partners.
In a statement, the council said that it has led the way on taking “innovative vaccination pop-up sites into the borough’s communities and millions of pounds in grants given to local businesses and voluntary sector groups to help secure their future”.
Hopkins also oversaw a complete change in the council’s partnership and service delivery work.
The council said its financial position, while severely hit by the costs of maintaining services and delivering innovative, rapid and comprehensive pandemic support, remains relatively sound, enabling investment in housing, jobs and local infrastructure.
Hopkins said: “Being the leader of this amazing borough has been a true privilege.
“While the pandemic has been enormously challenging, we have also seen the best of our borough at a time of such adversity.
“From the food hubs that were set up at no notice to deliver thousands of packages to those who needed it most during the first lockdown, to the local mutual aid groups and voluntary organisations that helped people in local communities, the response of the borough and council has been second to none.
“It was built on the years of relationships, support and people that we have invested in developing in Lambeth so that when the challenge came, we stepped up to the mark.”
He thanked all council staff for their work during the pandemic and their service to Lambeth residents.
“There are enormous challenges ahead as we emerge out of the pandemic, not least in ensuring a fair and equitable vaccine roll-out to all parts of our diverse community, and building a fair recovery for residents and local businesses,” he said.
Hopkins was first elected as a councillor in Oval ward in 2010 and has served in the council’s cabinet since 2012, with roles including community safety and neighbourhoods, economic development, regeneration, planning and employment and skills.
He led on delivering the neighbourhood enhancement programme, creating Lambeth’s Business Improvement Districts and developing innovative space for local businesses like Pop Brixton.
A new leader will be elected at a future meeting of the council.