Legislation for post 'has not been properly thought through'
A BRISTOL academic has come out in favour of an elected mayor – but does not believe the legislation for the post has been properly thought through.
Professor Robin Hambleton from the University of the West of England is an international expert on civic leadership and local governance and has provided advice to local authority leaders on directly elected mayors in many countries.
He said today's referendum was an important democratic moment in the history of Bristol.
He said it was critical to strengthen what he called "place-based" leadership in modern society.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
He said: "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."
He said the Coalition Government had grasped the importance of localism in public policy but said last year's Localism Act was "feeble" and did not go anywhere near far enough in devolving power to a local level.
He said: "The Coalition Government's decision to include the possibility of introducing directly elected mayors 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 directly elected mayor for the unitary authority of Bristol misses an opportunity to create a high profile, strategic civic leadership role."
He said elected mayors in other countries had shown to provide visible, accountable and effective civic leadership and there was much to learn from international experience."
He said: "Successful directly elected mayors in other countries have substantially more power than those proposed for England – for example, constitutional protection, major tax raising powers, and 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."