Evolving public sector roles in the leadership of place-based partnerships: from controlling to influencing policy? Regional Studies. This study argues that the role of the public sector in the leadership of some place-based partnerships is changing. It begins by developing a new framework for place-based leadership around a vehicle metaphor. The emerging shift in leadership roles is explored through a comparison of three pairs of UK-based case studies. It concludes that in some partnerships local community representatives increasingly hold the more powerful leadership roles (driver, navigator) with public sector organizations relegated to the back-seat role of technical expert (mechanic), with a more subtle, yet still significant, influence on policy.