SPE News

News from the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments.

2016 news

10 February 2016

City leadership research featured on BBC TV

Robin Hambleton, Professor of City Leadership, was invited to contribute to the BBC television Sunday Politics (Wales) programme on Sunday 7 February 2016. Activists in Cardiff are calling on the government to hold a referendum on whether or not to introduce a directly elected mayor form of governance for the Welsh capital, along the lines of the model now in place in Bristol. Professor Hambleton, by drawing on new research he has carried out with Dr David Sweeting of the University of Bristol on The Impacts of Mayoral Governance in Bristol, outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the mayoral model.

The passing of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016, which provides for the introduction of directly elected mayors across, potentially, most of England, means that the detailed research on the performance of mayoral governance in Bristol is attracting considerable interest. Read the full article on civic leadership.

2015 news

13 March 2015

What difference does having a directly elected mayor make?

On 13 March 2015 a Policy Report from the Bristol Civic Leadership Project was launched at the Institute for Government in London. Co-authored by Robin Hambleton, Professor of City Leadership at UWE, and Dr David Sweeting, University of Bristol, the study provides an initial assessment of the impact of the directly elected mayor model on the governance of Bristol. The report reveals an astonishing increase in the visibility of city leadership, and that there is widespread agreement that the council now has a clear vision for the city. However, citizens from the more deprived parts of the city show considerably less confidence in the new model of decision-making than those living in more prosperous areas.

Read the full press release.

2014 news

12 September 2014

Leading the Green City: An international exchange

Innovative cities across the world are at the forefront of efforts to meet the sustainability challenges facing communities. This free public event, which forms part of the preparations for Bristol 2015: European Green Capital, will provide international insights from some of the most progressive cities in the world. Read full article.

2013 news

15 November 2013

Professor Robin Hambleton contributes to debate on city leadership in Bristol

On 15 November 2013 Professor Robin Hambleton, of the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments at UWE Bristol, gave an interview to BBC Radio Bristol in which he suggested that Mayor Ferguson has, despite massive public spending cuts imposed by central government, enhanced the national and international profile of the city. Read full article.

15 May 2013

What is local government for?

Professor Robin Hambleton of the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments at UWE Bristol spoke at the Bristol Ideas Forum on 'What is local government for?' on 15 May 2013. In his presentation he argues for a radical decentralisation of power to the local level within the UK.

Watch the 'What is local government for?' presentation.

April 2013

Contributions to BBC broadcasts by Professor Robin Hambleton

On 11 April 2013 Robin Hambleton gave interviews to BBC Television and Radio Bristol on issues that are relevant to the local elections that will take place in May.  In relation to the elections in Bristol some commentators have suggested that there is no point in voting as, come what may, Mayor Ferguson will remain in office until 2016.  Professor Hambleton took a different view – he encouraged citizens to turn out and vote.  While it is true that the elections do not provide an opportunity to pass judgement on the performance of Mayor George Ferguson, they will lead to the election of a large number of councillors who will influence the future direction of the city.

Bristol Festival of Ideas: What is local government for?

Robin Hambleton, Professor of City Leadership, has been invited to speak at the 2013 Bristol Ideas Forum that will take place at The Watershed on 15 May 2013. This conference, which will examine the future of local government, will be addressed by, amongst others, Lord Heseltine, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary, George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, and the leaders of Birmingham and Liverpool. Professor Hambleton will present findings from research carried out in the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments on the importance of effective place-based leadership in modern societies.  More on the conference: http://www.ideasfestival.co.uk/2013/events/bristol-ideas-forum/

March 2013

The Prospects for Mayoral Governance in Bristol

View the research report on The Prospects for Mayoral Governance in Bristol.

What difference can a directly elected mayor make to the governance of a city? This is the central question being addressed in an ongoing research project of civic leadership in Bristol involving academics at UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol.  Led by Professor Robin Hambleton, of the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments, this study is believed to be the first 'before' and 'after' study of the impact of mayoral governance ever carried out.  The Mayoral Election took place in November 2012 and the report on the 'before' situation has now been published. 

The report on The Prospects for Mayoral Governance in Bristol was launched at Bristol City Hall on 22 March 2013. Mayor George Ferguson, who attended the launch, said: 'It is very good news that both our universities are working together on this civic leadership study, and it should provide an invaluable resource for other cities and city regions considering moves towards the directly elected mayor model.'

The research team carried out detailed research on the views of residents, third sector organisations, the business community, local councillors, council officers and public servants. The surveys and workshops were designed to assess the hopes and fears about the mayoral model of governance.

See: SPE news and events 2012.

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