Professor John Stewart Commemorative Academic Panel

To commemorate the life and work of the late Professor John Stewart, friends and colleagues reflect on his academic achievements, impact on local government policy and practice, and their own careers.

Professor John Stewart led the creation of the UK side of the university’s Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV) from 1966, and acted as Head of Department through four decades, after which his writing and influence continued until the late 2010s. 

Following John’s death, a memorial panel in June 2023 celebrated his contribution to the local government sector and the discipline of public administration. The panel, chaired by Professor Richard Black, heard presentations from three experienced local government leaders (Barry Quirk CBE, Sir Michael Lyons and Sir Rodney Brooke CBE) and three esteemed academics (Professors Gerry Stoker, Janet Newman, and Steve Leach) who discussed John and the impact of his work and ideas.

An earlier collection of Professor Stewart’s work, Local Government, Past, Present and Future: A Celebration of the 25 Year Writing Partnership of George Jones and John Stewart is available for download.

Download Local Government, Past, Present and Future

This collection was first published and printed in June 2023 by the Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV) in the School of Government at the University of Birmingham. 

View the Professor John Stewart Collection.

With thanks to the copyright owners for permission to use selected articles from the Municipal Journal, Local Government Chronicle, Public Finance and Political Studies

A monochrome image of the late Professor John Stewart, sat working at his deskProfessor John Stewart

Sir Michael Lyons remembers Professor John Stewart
Sir Michael Lyons CBE   

Michael has had a distinguished public service career included 17 years running some of the country's largest local authorities (including Birmingham City Council 1994 to 2001.) He was chairman of the BBC and Deputy Chair of the Audit Commission. He was Professor of Public Policy and director of Inlogov from 2001 to 2006. Michael led the 2007 Lyons Inquiry into the functions and funding of local government.


Sir Rodney Brooke details the academic work of Professor John Stewart
Sir Rodney Brooke CBE

Rodney served in local government for over four decades, starting as an office boy in Morley Council, Leeds. He became chief executive of West Yorkshire County Council in 1973 and of Westminster City Council in 1984, where he resigned in protest at the ‘homes for votes’ scandal of council leader Dame Shirley Porter. He was the Secretary of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities from 1990 until its absorption into the Local Government Association in 1997. He is author of ‘The Winding Stair’, an account of his time in local government. 

Professor Gerry Stoker looks back on the influences of Professor John Stewart
Professor Gerry Stoker

Gerry is Professor of Politics and Governance at the University of Southampton. He was the founding chair of the New Local Government Network and his Why Politics Matters won the political book of the year award from the Political Studies Association. Gerry has provided advice to various parts of UK government and was also an expert advisor to the Council of Europe on local government and participation issues.

Professor Janet Newman discusses her collaborations with Professor John Stewart
Professor Janet Newman

After ten years at INLOGOV, Janet was appointed Professor of Social Policy at the Open University. Her publications explore changing governance regimes (managerialism, neoliberal austerity, authoritarian populism). A particular focus has been on how groups and institutions ‘work the spaces of power’ in order to shape progressive futures – or resist the degradations of the present. 

Professor Steve Leach talks about his friend and colleague, Professor John Stewart
Professor Steve Leach

Steve Leach worked a Inlogov from 1977 to 1996. He was then appointed Professor of Local Government at De Montfort University. His research interests include Local Government, Politics & Public Policy, Business and Law. In 2017, he co-authored ‘Centralisation, Devolution and the Future of Local Government in England’ with John Stewart and George Jones. The book addresses the impact of the English government's state of decline after forty years of centralisation.

Dr Barry Quirk remembers Professor John Stewart
Dr Barry Quirk CBE

Barry has been one of the UK’s leading public sector managers for three decades, most recently as chief executive of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where he went in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire. His 2011 book “Re-imagining Government” was published to critical academic acclaim. He is currently an advisor to the Local Government Association and to PwC.