Leading local democracy expert available to discuss Bristol Mayoral election 15 and 16 November

Issue date: 08 November 2012

Professor Robin Hambleton

See video of Professor Hambleton talking about the Directly Elected Mayor elections in Bristol here.

On 15 November the citizens of Bristol will decide who is to become the first Directly Elected Mayor for their city. This will be an historic moment because this is the first time that Bristol citizens will have a direct say in choosing the leader of the city.

In referendums held in May ten English cities were given the chance to introduce a mayoral form of city government. Nine of them said 'no'. The only city to say 'yes' was Bristol. As Bristol is the only city in the country holding a mayoral election this month it is expected that the results will attract a high level of media and public interest.

The vote counting will take place at the vast Exhibition and Conference Centre at the University of the West of England where around 1,000 people will verify the votes overnight, once the polling stations have closed. There are fifteen candidates for mayor and the vote count, which will take place on 16 November, is a major task. Citizens are asked to provide their first and second choice on an unusually long ballot paper.

UWE Bristol's Professor Robin Hambleton, an expert in local democracy, will be following the entire proceedings with great interest.

“This election is a bold innovation in local democracy. It is clearly very important for those of us who live in Bristol. However, because the debate about how to strengthen city leadership is now very high on the political agenda nationally, I expect central government as well as other cities to pay close attention to what happens.

“Right now UWE Bristol is working very closely with the University of Bristol on a research project studying the impact of introducing a directly elected mayor in Bristol. We think it is the first 'before' and 'after' study of mayoral governance ever carried out, and we hope to be able to generate useful insights for the new mayor, the City Council and others concerned with the future governance of the city.

“I have been carrying out research on urban leadership for more than thirty years, and I have provided advice to city leaders in more than twenty countries. But this is the first time I have been able to lead a research team examining radical change in my own city.

“City leadership is my key area of academic interest. I have done many local media and some national interviews about this election in recent weeks and I'm holding my hand up to give expert commentary to the media on 15 and 16 November.

“The Bristol Civic Leadership Project is being carried out by a team of four - Professor Alex Marsh, Dr David Sweeting and Joanna Howard, from the University of Bristol, and myself. We have been given unparalleled access to all the key meetings leading up to the election.

“I am happy to give expert insight into what a directly elected mayor could mean for Bristol as well as the election process, and will be on hand during the lead up to and on the election days to talk to media contacts.”

If you would like to book an interview with Professor Robin Hambleton please call the Media Relations team at UWE Bristol on 0117 328 2208.

Additional information

For more information on the Bristol Civic Leadership research project please visit:



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