Research Project

Mayors Mid-term: Lessons from the first eighteen months of directly elected mayors

The introduction of Elected Mayors was one of the most controversial aspects of the Government’s modernisation agenda for local government. A bold new experiment in governance, the mayoral system has now been up and running in eleven places for just over 18 months.

The New Local Government Network has been following the mayoral agenda right from the start and this report looks at what we have learned. This enables the debate to move beyond prejudice – both in terms of the hopes and the fears of what mayors might do – to assess what we have really learnt from the system in practice.

Drawing on evidence from close working and observation with mayors and other stakeholders, as well as opinion polling on mayors, this report draws together the lessons from mayors so far. There are many positive signs emerging as well as many challenges and the report offers suggestions for ways forward. But wether the experiment is to be deepened or not, the lessons from the “First Eleven” mayors are very relevent to all public policy thinkers as we search for solutions to the challenges of civic engagement and service improvement.