Birmingham Policy Commission I

Collage of young people from NYRG

The first Birmingham Policy Commission considered the future of local public services in the context of the coalition Government's 'big society' initiative.

Launched with a debate at the Conservative Party Conference in October 2010, the Commission brought together evidence of past attempts at reform with new research and thinking to generate policy options for the future of local public services. Guided by expert Commissioners from academia, policy and practice, and delivered in collaboration with Demos, the Commission focused on what local state, civic and private actors can do to meet the challenges of designing and delivering local public services in a society that supports individual and collective efficacy, social justice and local democracy.

The Commission investigated -

  • The contribution of behaviour change approaches and techniques to the design and delivery of local public services in the future
  • How public service roles and relationships will be redesigned and the implications for citizens, service users and providers
  • The role of local government
  • How we can reproduce success and mitigate failure in a ‘localist’ system

The Commission paid special attention to young people as potential volunteers and civic actors, employees, entrepreneurs and service users.

Learn more about this Policy Commission -

Related University of Birmingham initiatives

Latest events

  • A member of the Commission – Jane Slowey – presented the Commission’s work at a conference hosted by the National Youth Reference Group in May 2012. The conference, entitled “Getting It Right for Young People”, was a solutions focused, youth led conference aiming to put young people at the forefront of service provision. Find out more about the conference.
  • The University of Birmingham sponsored a Battle of Ideas debate entitled “Remaking citizens for the ‘big society’” in October 2011. The debate was produced and chaired by a member of the Commission - Professor Kathryn Ecclestone.

    - Held at the Royal College of Art in London, the Battle of Ideas is an annual festival of informed, provocative and lively debate on contemporary politics, economics, culture, and the arts, health, social science and education.

        - Read the paper written by Professor Ecclestone for the Battle of Ideas debate.


Professor Helen Sullivan led this Policy Commission on The Future of Local Public Services.