John Foster Former Chief Executive, London Borough of Islington

John Foster has had a long and distinguished career in public service starting in 1970 as a Community Worker at Northumberland County Council. He worked at Durham County Council and then progressed through the Home Office where he was the Director for Community Development Programmes. He then returned to local government as Executive Director of North Tyneside Council from 1992-1998. In February 1998, John became the Chief Executive of Middlesbrough Council and in 2003, he started as Chief Executive of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.

The Audit Commission named Wakefield District Council the fastest improving council in the country in 2004 following a year of progress and achievement. Wakefield also won the Local Government Chronicle’s award for Most Improved Council in 2006.

During his time at Wakefield, John was a key force behind many major exciting regeneration projects planned for the city, including the Trinity Walk development and the new Hepworth Gallery, designed by David Chipperfield

John became Chief Executive of Islington Council in June 2008 and in the same year was awarded a CBE for Services to Local Government.

In March 2009, Islington achieved external recognition from the Audit Commission with a four-star rating and improving strongly.

In 2009, Islington was the overall winner of London in Bloom for the second year running and became the first borough ever to win the new Best London in Bloom Entry award. Islington then went on to represent London and the South-East in the Britain in Bloom awards.

Islington is leading the way with tackling climate change and reducing its carbon footprint through a range of energy initiatives, including the council’s Climate Change Fund. It has won numerous awards for its efforts, including the MJ Energy Efficiency Achievement of the Year award, the Golden Green Apple Award for a schools environment project, and a Mayor’s Green 500 Award for its Climate Change Partnership.

John chairs a number of boards at the council, including: the Local Education Partnership, the Corporate Regeneration Board, the Corporate Management Board, the LBI/CE Strategic Partnership Board, the Capital Review Group, Safeguarding Accountability Groups (Children and Adults), the Monthly Performance Panel and the Islington Strategic Partnership Executive.

Additionally, he is a member of a number of external boards, including: SOLACE Enterprise Limited, Central London Forward (CLF) and the Local Authority Research Council Initiative Strategic Board (LARCI). He is Chair of the North Central London Resilience Forum, and a Trustee of the Board for the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust.