The programme, due to last until next July, is a “short-term plan to recover public services so people can get back to the ‘new normal’”, she explained.
After starting the job in September, Cllr Williams is only guaranteed to keep it until the May local elections but it’s clear she’s confident about re-election.
She said: “I’m really excited to be leading the Labour group. If you look at London council leaders, many have been cabinet members for children and there’s a number of reasons for that.
“It’s the second largest budget, which means you’re used to making hard decisions. Plus, you see the cases where children really need help… [which] sit with you and inform your understanding of what the council is there to do.”
Cllr Williams assumed leadership just days after a teenager was shot dead on a Leyton estate and, unsurprisingly, keeping children safe from violence is a key concern.
She said the council wants to see children as young as nine taught “how to make decisions and ask for help” in schools and is changing how it deals with expelled students, focusing more on “the trauma they might have experienced”.
She said: “We need to make sure we are meeting their needs and are able to get them back into mainstream education. We want to look at this through a different lens.
“We’re working to have inclusion units within schools and the borough’s head teachers have been amazing. The idea is that those children can stay connected and integrated in school.”
Her time as cabinet member was not unmarked by controversy, particularly one that tested her ambition as leader to “bring people on board and explain difficult choices”.