Greg Clark, Lord Heseltine, and Lord Adonis travel to our elected mayors debate.
The government has committed to decentralise political control, including through the introduction of directly-elected mayors and police and crime commissioners.
The Institute for Government has examined the likely impact of these changes in practice, alongside wider developments in local and regional government.
Our research into mayors has focused on the lessons we can learn from existing mayoral authorities, how we can improve the current mayoral model, the role elected mayors play in economic growth and the impact elected mayors can have on our cities.
Eight tips for newly elected mayors
Our research shows that the key to being an effective mayor is to understand that mayors occupy a uniquely central position in a network of institutions, both within the council, and across the city. Effective mayors act like an orchestral conductor, coordinating the different elements, helping them perform to the best of their ability, and drawing on them at the right moment. We've provided 8 pieces of advice for new mayors.
‘What can elected mayors do for our cities?’
‘What can elected mayors do for our cities?’ is a collection of short essays assessing the merits and limitations of directly-elected mayors. The report, published in March 2012, is a collaborative effort between some of the best policy institutes working in this field, including the Institute for Public Policy Research, the Brookings Institution, Localis, the New Local Government Network, the London School of Economics, the Young Foundation, the Centre for Cities and the 2020 Public Service Trust.
The publication builds on our longer term research into elected mayors. It was launched at an event in Birmingham in March 2012 where Greg Clark, Cities and Decentralisation Minister, James Hutchings, ‘No’ campaigner and Birmingham Councillor, Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, Lord Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister and Lord Adonis, former Transport Minister, spoke in a debate about the impact of elected mayors.
Elected mayors: our research
The introduction of directly-elected city mayors would mark a significant shift in the local governance landscape.
In preparation for any change, we've looked at how the mayoral model can be made to work effectively. We've asked whether the government’s proposed model will achieve the intended aim of decentralising power and strengthening accountability at the local level.
Initially, we focused on three important questions for mayoral governance:
What lessons can we learn from existing mayoral authorities?
This strand of the project sought to distil and disseminate important lessons from the existing mayoral local authorities. It looked at particular aspects of mayoral governance and asked how each aspect can be made to work to achieve its full potential, including:
The work culminated in the Making the Most of Mayors report, which we hope will help future mayors learn from the experience of others.
- the mayor's cabinet
- overview and scrutiny
- the role of officers and backbenchers
How can the current mayoral model be improved?
The second strand asked whether the mayoral model, as proposed in the Localism Bill, will have the intended effect of strengthening local accountability. As part of this strand, Andrew Adonis undertook a tour of the twelve cities for which referenda were initially planned.
Lord Adonis asked current city leaders, councillors, chief executives, officials and local stakeholders what they thought about mayoral governance in general, and about the proposals in the Localism Bill more specifically.
The findings of this research reinforced our view that mayoral governance offers distinct advantages in terms of increased accountability, influence, coordination and improved decision making at a local level.
What role can elected mayors play in local economic growth?
One of the most significant challenges facing our cities is generating sustainable economic growth. The government expects that, as leaders of their city, directly-elected mayors play a key role in supporting economic growth.
But what role can an elected mayor play?
These issues are addressed in the third strand of our work on elected mayors, which culminated in our report Big Shot or Long Shot? How elected mayors can help drive economic growth in England's cities
- will the current mayoral model allow mayors to play a role in supporting economic growth?
- is mayoral governance better suited to supporting a local pro-growth agenda?