Bristol mayor referendum:UWE Bristol expert available

Issue date: 01 May 2012

Professor Robin Hambleton from UWE Bristol is available for media interviews relating to the Directly Elected Mayoral debate.

Robin Hambleton is Professor of City Leadership in the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments, UWE, Bristol. He is an international expert on civic leadership and local governance, and has provided advice to local authority leaders and Directly Elected Mayors (DEMs) in many countries.

Professor Hambleton shares his view on the current debate

“This is an important democratic moment when the citizens of Bristol will decide whether or not they want a Directly Elected Mayor. It is critical to strengthen place-based leadership in modern society. A disturbing feature of globalisation is that communities – and this is a global phenomenon not just a European one - are becoming victims of placeless power. Too many decisions that affect the quality of life in an area are made by distant figures – what I call 'placeless leaders' – who care not a jot for the wellbeing of particular communities living in particular localities. This 'placeless' approach is damaging communities as well as the economic performance of cities and city regions.

“The Coalition Government claims it grasps the importance of localism in public policy, but the Localism Act 2011 is feeble and does not go anywhere near far enough in devolving power to the local level.

“The Coalition Government decision to include the possibility of introducing DEMs in the 12 biggest cities outside London is to be welcomed, but the proposals are not thought through.

“Greater Bristol needs a metro mayor along the lines of the successful London model, a strategic mayor for the city region. Introducing a DEM for the unitary authority of Bristol misses an opportunity to create a high profile, strategic civic leadership role.

“DEMs in other countries have been shown to provide visible, accountable and effective civic leadership, and there is much to learn from international experience. We, at UWE Bristol, have good knowledge of mayoral leadership in other countries as well as other more collective leadership models.

“Successful DEMs in other countries have substantially more power than those proposed for England eg constitutional protection, major tax raising powers, no detailed supervision from an overbearing central state.

“British cities, indeed all cities, need multi-level civic leadership drawing on three realms of leadership (political, public servant, and community/business leadership). This new approach to understanding civic leadership – one that recognises the important contributions of leaders from three overlapping realms of place-based leadership - is documented in new research from the UWE Bristol based Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments.”


Event: Should Bristol have a directly elected mayor?

Wednesday 2 May 2012

On Thursday 3 May, the City of Bristol is holding a referendum. Citizens will vote on whether to change the way we are governed. Bristol, like other large cities in England, must decide whether it wants a Directly Elected Mayor. But is a Mayor a good idea or a bad idea?


International experience with city leadership, Professor Robin Hambleton, UWE Bristol

Why Bristol needs an Elected Mayor, Dr David Sweeting, University of Bristol

Why an Elected Mayor is a bad idea, Professor Alex Marsh, University of Bristol


UWE Bristol: 13:00 – 14:00

Room 1R026, R block, Frenchay Campus

University of Bristol: 15:30 – 16:30

2D3, Social Science Complex, Priory Road, Bristol

This is a jointly organised event between the two universities in Bristol

All students and non-students are welcome - no need to book.

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