NLGN’s research and thought-leadership

NLGN’s research and thought-leadership seeks both practical impact for local government and partners, and to influence national policy priorities as they relate to places and public services.

Our core focus is on changemaking, a future vision for local government to generate and sustain impact in the future. This is based on the increasingly pressurised operating context for local government, characterised by resource constraints, demand pressures and demographic shifts.

In our first thinkpiece, A Changemaking Vision for Local Government, set out three core aspects to this:

  • It’s about culture, not just structures: A focus on creating a positive, dynamic culture within the council workforce, amongst elected members and within the wider community as opposed to simply expecting shifts in structures to produce change.
  • Embedding clear values: The encouragement of a clear set of three behavioural norms -creativity, collaboration and self-determination – to better enable adaptation to competing priorities.
  • Driving social impact: The introduction of a fierce clarity of mission for local government geared towards generating social impact as well as delivering services.

Our second report Culture Shock: Creating a changemaking culture in local government set out evidence of the role of culture for organisational impact, and a framework for understanding cultures in local government. We’ll be developing our approach in the coming months and are interested in your views.

In addition to Changemaking, our research programme covers three main themes and we are planning a range of upcoming projects focussed on the following areas:

Early Intervention and Prevention
Place-based growth
Future technology

We are developing a number of research projects at the moment. If you would like to find out more about our research, or partnership opportunities, please contact Jessica Studdert, Deputy Director, on