Elected Mayors: Leading Locally?

John Fenwick, Howard James Elcock

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Abstract

The directly elected executive mayor has been with us in England for more than a decade. Drawing inspiration from European and American experience (see Elcock and Fenwick, 2007) the elected mayor has appealed to both Labour and Conservative commentators in offering a solution to perceived problems of local leadership. For the Left, it offered a reinvigoration of local democracy, a champion for the locality who could stand up for the community: in one early pamphlet, a Labour councillor envisaged that an elected mayor could “...usher in a genuinely inclusive way of doing civic business as well as giving birth to an institution that encourages and values people” (Todd, 2000: 25). For the Right, it offered the opportunity to cut through the lengthy processes of local democratic institutions by providing streamlined high-profile leadership. Although inconsistent in their expectations of what the new role of executive mayor would bring, Left and Right shared a view that leadership of local areas was failing. Despite the very low turnout in referendums on whether to adopt the system, and the very small number of local areas that have done so, the prospect of more executive mayors, with enhanced powers, refuses to exit the policy arena.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012
Event40 years of Policy & Politics: Critical reflections and strategies for the future, Territorial Governance and Development in England - College Green, Bristol, UK
Duration: 18 Sep 2012 → …

Conference

Conference40 years of Policy & Politics: Critical reflections and strategies for the future, Territorial Governance and Development in England
Period18/09/12 → …

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