London borough
Category Districts
Location Greater London
Created by London Government Act 1963
Created 1 April 1965
Number 32 (as at 2008)
Possible types Inner London (12)
Outer London (20)
Possible status City (1)
Royal borough (3)
Populations 150,000–300,000
Areas 15–150 km2
Government London Borough Council (31)
City Council (1)

The administrative area of Greater London contains thirty-two London boroughs. Inner London comprises twelve of these boroughs plus the City of London. Outer London comprises the twenty remaining boroughs of Greater London.


The London boroughs are administered by London Borough Councils which are elected every four years. The boroughs are the principal local authorities in London and are responsible for running most local services in their areas, such as schools, social services, waste collection and roads. Some London-wide services are run by the Greater London Authority, and some services and lobbying of government are pooled within London Councils. Some London borough councils also group together for such services as waste collection and disposal, e.g. the West London Waste Authority. The London boroughs are local government districts and have similar functions to metropolitan boroughs. Each London borough is a Local Education Authority. Until 1990 the Inner London boroughs were served by a shared LEA, the Inner London Education Authority.

Shared services[]

Shared services are borough council services shared between two or more boroughs. Shared services were previously resisted due to councils jealously guarding their authority. However, as the need for budget cuts in the late 2000s became apparent some councils have sought service mergers.[1] Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham will merge their education services, including school admissions and transport by 2011.[2] In October 2010 Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea announced plans to merge all their services to create a "super-council". Each would retain its own political identity, leadership and councillors but staff and budgets would be combined for cost savings.[3] Lambeth and Southwark likewise expressed an interest in sharing services.[4]

Critics of shared services

The management thinker and inventor of The Vanguard Method, Professor John Seddon claims that shared service projects based on attempts to achieve 'economies of scale' are a mix of a) the plausibly obvious and b) a little hard data, brought together to produce two broad assertions, for which there is little hard factual evidence.[5] He argues that shared service projects fail (and often end up costing more than they hoped to save) because they cause a disruption to the service flow by moving the work to a central location, creating waste in handoffs, rework and duplication, lengthening the time it takes to deliver a service and consequently creating failure demand (demand caused by a failure to do something or do something right for a customer).[6]

John Seddon referred directly to the so-called tri-borough shared services in a recent article.[7]


There are four boroughs which do not use the term "London Borough of" in their names. They are Westminster, which is termed the City of Westminster as it has city status, Kingston upon Thames, Kensington and Chelsea, and (since 2012) Greenwich, which are termed "Royal Borough of", due to their Royal borough status.

List of boroughs[]


Template:Politics of London

City of LondonCity of WestminsterKensington and ChelseaHammersmith and FulhamWandsworthLambethSouthwarkTower HamletsHackneyIslingtonCamdenBrentEalingHounslowRichmond upon ThamesKingstonMertonSuttonCroydonBromleyLewishamGreenwichBexleyHaveringBarking and DagenhamRedbridgeNewhamWaltham ForestHaringeyEnfieldBarnetHarrowHillingdonLondonNumbered.png
About this image
  1. City of London
  2. City of Westminster
  3. Kensington and Chelsea
  4. Hammersmith and Fulham
  5. Wandsworth
  6. Lambeth
  7. Southwark
  8. Tower Hamlets
  9. Hackney
  10. Islington
  11. Camden
  12. Brent
  13. Ealing
  14. Hounslow
  15. Richmond upon Thames
  16. Kingston upon Thames
  17. Merton
  1. Sutton
  2. Croydon
  3. Bromley
  4. Lewisham
  5. Greenwich
  6. Bexley
  7. Havering
  8. Barking and Dagenham
  9. Redbridge
  10. Newham
  11. Waltham Forest
  12. Haringey
  13. Enfield
  14. Barnet
  15. Harrow
  16. Hillingdon


The present London boroughs were created by the London Government Act 1963. They came into existence on 1 April 1965 with the creation of Greater London. The first London Borough elections had been held in 1964 with the newly elected London Borough Councils acting as "shadow" authorities before coming into power the following year.

They had wider authority than the inner London metropolitan boroughs and neighbouring urban districts and municipal boroughs which they mostly replaced, but less power than the three county boroughs of Croydon, West Ham and East Ham, which ceased to exist at the same time.

Between 1965 and 1986 the London boroughs were part of a two-tier system of government, and shared power with the Greater London Council (GLC). However on 1 April 1986, the GLC was abolished, the London boroughs inherited most of its powers and became in effect unitary authorities (combining both county and borough functions). Since the creation in 2000 of a new Greater London Authority, covering the former GLC area but with more limited powers, the boroughs no longer have all the powers of English unitary authorities.

The City of London is administered by its own distinct body, the City of London Corporation, which predates the London boroughs.

Former authorities[]

The boroughs were created as follows. There have been some changes to boundaries and some boroughs have been renamed since 1965.

Inner London borough Former areas
Camden Hampstead (11a) St Pancras (11b) Holborn (11c)
Greenwich Greenwich (22a) Woolwich (part) (22b)
Hackney Hackney (9a) Shoreditch (9b) Stoke Newington (9c)
Hammersmith Hammersmith (4a) Fulham (4b)
Islington Islington (10a) Finsbury (10b)
Kensington and Chelsea Kensington (3a) Chelsea (3b)
Lambeth Lambeth (6a) Wandsworth (part) (6b)
Lewisham Lewisham (21a) Deptford (21b)
Southwark Bermondsey (7b) Camberwell (7c) Southwark (7a)
Tower Hamlets Bethnal Green (8a) Poplar (8c) Stepney (8b)
Wandsworth Battersea (5b) Wandsworth (part) (5a)
Westminster Paddington (2c) St Marylebone (2b) Westminster (2a)

Greater London composite parts.PNG

Outer London borough Former areas
Barking and Dagenham Barking (part) (25a) Dagenham (part) (25b)
Barnet Barnet (31a) East Barnet (31b) Finchley (31d) Hendon (31c) Friern Barnet (31e)
Bexley Bexley (23b) Erith (23a) Crayford (23c) Chislehurst and Sidcup (part) (23d)
Brent Wembley (12a) Willesden (12b)
Bromley Bromley (20c) Beckenham (20b) Orpington (20e) Penge (20a) Chislehurst and Sidcup (part) (20d)
Croydon Croydon (19a) Coulsdon and Purley (19b)
Ealing Acton (13b) Ealing (13a) Southall (13c)
Enfield Edmonton (30c) Enfield (30a) Southgate (30b)
Haringey Hornsey (29b) Tottenham (29c) Wood Green (29a)
Harrow Harrow (32)
Havering Romford (24a) Hornchurch (24b)
Hillingdon Hayes and Harlington (33c) Ruislip Northwood (33b) Uxbridge (33a) Yiewsley and West Drayton (33d)
Hounslow Brentford and Chiswick (14c) Feltham (14a) Heston and Isleworth (14b)
Kingston upon Thames Kingston upon Thames (16a) Malden and Coombe (16b) Surbiton (16c)
Merton Mitcham (17c) Merton and Morden (17b) Wimbledon (17a)
Newham West Ham (27a) East Ham (27b) Barking (part) (27c) Woolwich (part) (27d)
Redbridge Ilford (26a) Wanstead and Woodford (26b) Dagenham (part) (26c) Chigwell (part) (26d)
Richmond upon Thames Barnes (15a) Richmond (15b) Twickenham (15c)
Sutton Beddington (18c) Carshalton (18b) Sutton and Cheam (18a)
Waltham Forest Chingford (28a) Leyton (28c) Walthamstow (28b)

See also[]

  • Borough
  • ISO 3166-2:GB, subdivision codes for the United Kingdom
  • Political make-up of London borough councils


External links[]

London Boroughs Map

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