Research projects

Ongoing projects

Smart Urban Intermediaries: Trans-European research, learning, and action Project (Apr 2017 - Oct 2019)

Description
The project will seek to generate impact and value in academia, civil society and urban governance in understanding, contributing to and advancing smart urban development and social innovation. Reflecting the substantive focus of this project, a crucial impact will be on transforming existing and fostering new connections, collaboration and co-creation between, as well as within, user communities.

Jam and Justice: co-producing urban governance for social innovation (Jan 2016 - Jul 2019)

Description
The impact from Jam and Justice will be conceptual, re-thinking the nature of contemporary urban governance, emphasising governing processes, the role of intermediaries in urban transformations and re-orienting devolution to place-based capacity building.

Network governance and low carbon transitions in European cities (Nov 2014 - Oct 2017)

Description
How can European cities transition to a low carbon future? What are the governance challenges in creating environmentally sustainable cities? Can ideas about 'network governance' enhance adaption to climate change by improving interaction between citizens, businesses, associations and governments?

Completed projects 

Do flexible institutions enhance democracy? A comparative analysis of public governance innovations in Brazil and the UK (Jul 2014 - Jul 2016)

Description
The purpose of this exploratory research is to bring complementary expertise from the UK and Brazil to the analysis of democratic innovations - the global search for new ways in which societal, economic and cultural problems can be resolved through the direct involvement of citizens, civil society organisations, and other parties.

Translation across borders: exploring the use, relevance and impact of academic research in the policy process (Jan 2014 - Mar 2015)

Description
This project seeks to explore and suggest ways to address the frustrations which attempts to translate research into policy can bring. A focus of concern for academics is the fidelity of translation to their research findings. For policy-makers, the focus is often the function of the translation for the demands they are seeking to address.

Evaluation of Community Organisers and Community First programmes (Nov 2012 - Feb 2015)

Description
The evaluation will assess the delivery and social impact of both programmes, providing continuous learning and relevant insights for programme development.

Ways of Knowing: Exploring the different registers, values and subjectivities of collaborative research (Feb 2013 - Jan 2014)

Description
This diverse inter-disciplinary project will draw together different perspectives produced through collaborative research generating a range of resources aimed at different audiences to inform the development of creative and reflexive collaborative practice.

Community governance in a context of decentralisation (Nov 2012 - Apr 2013)

Description
This review will explore why these crucial concerns remain unresolved and consider creative responses to issues of demand, mobilisation, equity and risk.

Towards transformative co-production in local public services (Nov 2012 - Apr 2013)

Description
This review explore the tensions in thinking about co-production as a substitutive response to austerity and consider when, where and how citizens and professionals can work together to deliver transformation in local public services.

Shrinking the state: analysing the reform of arm's length bodies (2012-2016)

Description
This four year project analysed the UK Coalition Government's major reform of 'arm's length bodies' (ALBs – often called 'quangos'). Quangos are a frequent focus for public, political and media criticism, regarded as unaccountable, wasteful, and self-serving. But they are also indispensible to modern government, preventing ministers from becoming overloaded, bringing expert advice and management to complex policy issues, and undertaking regulatory and quasi-judicial tasks that need to be politically independent.

Integrated Public Service Budgets (2010 - 2011)

Description
This research examines and establishes the costs and benefits of aligning or pooling budgets across activities, services, and organisations.

The Impact of Local Authorities Supplying Legal Services to NHS Trusts (2010)

Description
This research, undertaken by Dr Peter Watt, examines the business case for such provision and the legal issues that arise in working in such a way.

A Study into Local Authority Charging for Non-Residential Social Care Services in Wales (2008 - 09)

Description
A review of the existing pattern of charges levied by Welsh local authorities for non-residential social care services and assessment of options for introducing more consistency into charging for these services across Wales.

Small parties: influence and effect on democratic engagement and local politics (2006 - 09)

Description
Small parties are a vital way for local citizens to signal discontent to the local political elite, pursue a single-issue cause, focus on local concerns and enhance political accountability and engagement.

The democratic anchorage of governance networks in Europe (2006 - 08)

Description
The project will assist policy makers, public service managers, and citizens to develop the democratic aspects of their approaches to collaborative decision-making and service delivery. It is also linked to advanced training for PhD students in Europe (see PhD web pages).

Accountability impacts of the Local Government Modernisation Agenda (2003 - 07)

Description
This study analysed the accountability impact of the reforms of English local government since 1997. The project formed part of a long-term meta-evaluation of the Local Government Modernisation Agenda (LGMA).