message from Cllr Kieron Williams, the new Leader of Southwark Council

Kieron Williams HeaderDear resident

It is an honour to be elected as Leader of Southwark Council. As Leader, I want to work with everyone in Southwark to keep building a better future and unlocking the amazing potential I see in every part of our community.  

Never has that potential been clearer than during this pandemic. Seeing volunteers, frontline workers, public services, charities, faith groups and businesses all step up together has been truly inspiring. I want to thank you all for the part you have played. Your actions have shown incredible strength and resilience.

Sadly the pandemic is far from over and our continued response to COVID-19 remains our top priority. Cases and hospital admissions are rising across London and much of the UK. If action isn’t taken quickly, we risk seeing another dramatic rise in hospitalizations and, tragically, deaths.

I welcome the additional restrictions that have been introduced this week – further information about these is below – and I have joined the Mayor of London in calling for further targeted restrictions in London to help keep us all safe.Although COVID-19 is the most pressing and urgent issue we face, it is not our only challenge. The unequal impact of the pandemic on different communities has shone a light on wider inequalities and injustice in our society. My ambition as Leader is to unite communities in Southwark so we can break down that inequality, and not just rebuild from the crisis, but build something better. A Southwark where everyone has a home, where everyone can get a decent job, where we end our carbon emissions and where everyone is empowered to make the best of their life.

I look forward to working with you to continue to build a better future for the people of Southwark.

Thank you and stay safe.


Update on new Covid-19 rules
This week the government announced a tightening of Covid restrictions in a number of areas and also launched its new Test and Trace app.

Self-isolating is a legal requirement from 28 September
From 28 September you are legally required to self-isolate, if you’ve tested positive or been told to by the test and trace service. People who don’t self-isolate when required could now be fined. If you need to self-isolate and you’re on a low income and can’t work from home, you may be eligible for £500 hardship payment. We are waiting for further details from the government about how this will work.

New rules for pubs, restaurants and shops
Some businesses need to follow updated rules where appropriate. This includes shop staff wearing face coverings, and pubs and restaurants closing by 10pm and implementing table service only.

Businesses must display a contact tracing poster
Businesses and some other organisations must download and display a QR code poster for customers and visitors to support contract tracing.

Download the Test and Trace app
You can now download the national test and trace app. The app has a number of features including alerting users if they have been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus. Find out more about the app.

Changes for indoor sports and weddings
Indoor team sports can now only be played by a maximum of six people. Weddings can now only have a maximum of 15 guests.

Keep washing your hands, social distancing and wear a face covering
In addition to the new rules we must keep washing our hands regularly, keep our distance from others (and not meet with more than six people), and wear a face covering in shops and on transport.

Self-isolate and get tested if you have symptoms
If you have coronavirus symptoms you must self-isolate and get a free test.

Update: Covid-19 cases are increasing in Southwark, and a farewell message from Cllr Peter John

Cllr Peter John OBE
Dear resident

This is my last message to you before I step down as Leader of Southwark Council on Wednesday, and I wish I was saying goodbye at a happier time.

I must tell you that the number of Covid-19 cases in Southwark has been increasing. Numbers are now rising across London and much of the country. We all need to help prevent the spread of the virus by following the rules. We must all:
wash our hands regularly
wear a face covering on transport and in enclosed spaces
keep our distance from others (and now only meet socially with up to six people)
self-isolate and get tested if we have symptoms.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit London back in March, I decided to stay on and help Southwark and London navigate the crisis. I’m proud of the way our borough and city have supported residents and businesses, and although we still have tough times ahead, we are in a much better place to handle a second wave than we were back in the spring. I can’t put off my departure forever, and so on Wednesday I will step down and a new Leader will be elected by Council Assembly.

I became Leader in 2010 and over the last ten years I have led the borough through good times and bad. We have celebrated the Olympics, welcomed Her Majesty the Queen to the Shard, and always delivered on our commitments – from free healthy school meals to free swim and gym, introducing the London Living Wage and the ethical care charter, to making every council home warm, dry and safe and committing to building 11,000 new council homes. But it is what we should always be doing as a good local council – thinking radically to help our residents and improving their life chances.

Of course, we have also faced austerity, riots, terror, the housing crisis and the dreadful fallout from the Grenfell tragedy, and throughout made the right – sometimes difficult – choices for our residents.

As Leader I have always been clear that we should never tolerate anyone failing to reach their potential because of their home, their school, their environment or their job prospects. The fact that many more people in our borough have found a job or a home in our borough since 2010 is something to be celebrated.

Tackling inequality and improving the life chances of our residents has been my driving force since 2010. We have broken down barriers and inequalities – whether it is through our major investment in improving our council housing or supporting aspiring students through the Youth Fund or any other of our inspiring initiatives.

Over the coming months we will face massive financial challenges which will force us to take difficult decisions about the services we can offer. But I do take comfort from the fact that without the investment, growth and prudent financial management of the past decade those challenges would be far greater. And we will need to reassure our diverse communities that they will continue to be safe and that everyone will prosper as a valued individual in our borough.

When I delayed my departure six months ago I had some idea of the massive impact which Covid-19 was going to have on our borough and our city. We have all been touched in some way by this disease, and the economic and social impact of the pandemic has been deeper and harsher than anyone could have feared. At Southwark Council, we responded swiftly and effectively to the pandemic – changing the way we operate entirely and introducing services and support, which did not exist before March.

Leaving this role at this time is difficult. But thank you for all your support and for helping me to deliver a fairer future for all in the best borough, in the best city, in the best country in the world. Southwark is and will continue to be the best place in the world.

With my very best wishes,


Urgent – your help is needed

4358 - Test and Trace Leaderboards 728x90v1

Dear all,

Southwark Council monitors the COVID-19 infection rates on a daily basis. Whilst numbers are still low, the number of new cases has nearly doubled in Southwark in the last week and numbers are rising across London.

A high proportion of new cases are for people aged 18–34. We also know that most transmission is still amongst family and friends and there is some transmission from people coming back from holidays abroad. As we look forward to the bank holiday weekend we are asking people to please be careful and help prevent the spread of the virus and another lockdown.

If you’re visiting family or going out with friends you must:

  • keep your distance from other people at all times
  • wear a face covering in shops and on public transport
  • wash your hands regularly.

Get tested if you have symptoms

Get a test as soon as possible if you have coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, a new persistent cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste). You must also must self-isolate, as should members of your household and anyone in your support bubble.

How you can help.

I have attached a number of assets such as posters, leaflets and social media artwork. Please feel free to use this and share across your networks, put posters up on noticeboards and TRA halls and get the message out to residents.

The webpages at have more info on Test and Trace and more posters you can download including area specific ones like Keep Peckham Safe. If you would like a poster with your estate specifically mentioned please email and we will get one sent to you.

Thank you for helping to keep Southwark safe.

Thanks Kim

Kim Hooper – Publications and special projects manager at Southwark council

A5 leaflet Test and Tracev3

Keep Southwark Safe – notes for external partners

KLS Southwark

COVID-19: cases are rising in Southwark

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident

Make your own face covering, free film streaming and much more

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident

Help us keep Southwark safe, gyms reopen, and family fun this summer

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident

Update on lockdown changes in Southwark

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

Tell Southwark Council how COVID-19 and the lockdown has impacted you

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

Shops and places of worship to reopen, plus an update on our response to Black Lives Matter

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

COVID-19 updates, tackling the climate emergency and more


Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

Another sunny weekend awaits but our message stays the same – please stay at home as much as possible to stop the virus spreading.

I want to thank everyone, including council staff and members of the public, who have been working so hard to keep our parks and open spaces clean and safe. We can all do our bit to help by using our parks responsibly. Please keep your distance from others, don’t have barbecues and take your rubbish home with you. Let’s work together to look after our parks, so we can all enjoy them.

It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since the dreadful terror attacks in London Bridge and Borough in which eight people were murdered and dozens more injured. On 3rd June we will remember those lives lost, and all those harmed on that terrible night, with a service hosted by Southwark Cathedral. Given the current lockdown restrictions the memorial service will be held virtually on Southwark Cathedral’s website. Whether or not you are able to join the service, I know you will join me in remembering those lost on that sunny evening three years ago, and keep their friends and families firmly in your thoughts.

Best wishes,

Cllr Peter John