Jason Lowther

What happens to evidence when authorities combine?

Supervisor: Vivien Lowndes and Stephen Jeffares 

This research looks at how evidence is used in policy making in particular contexts, using the creation of the West Midlands Combined Authority as a case study.  It considers the temporal, institutional, political and spatial contexts of policy making in this new novel institution and lifts the lid on the usually hidden processes through a range of elite interviews, documentary review and observation.  The specific contexts influence the approach adopted to policy making, and this in turn impacts on how different kinds of evidence are used in that process.  The work proposes a model to help conceptualise the impact of context on policy making and the use of evidence in this process.


Senior local government manager – most recently as Head of Policy and Programmes at West Midlands Combined Authority (2018-19) and Director of Strategy at Birmingham City Council (2004-2018).

Previous roles include Head of Policy and Regional Lead for VFM at the Audit Commission (1994-2004), Operational Research at HSBC Bank, and Senior Scientific Officer at the Metropolitan Police.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Public Management and Governance
  • Public Policy and Evidence
  • Managing in a Political Environment
  • Comparative Public Management
  • Performance Management and Strategy

Research interests

  • Evidence based policy making

Memberships of Professional Bodies

  • Society of Local Authority Chief Executives
  • Local Area Research and Intelligence Association (council member)

Conference Papers

  •  When Authorities Combine, What Happens To Evidence (ECPR 2020 Joint Sessions – postponed)


  • Lowther, J, COVID-19: Is Government really led by the science?, Municipal Journal, 21 May 2020

Contact details

Email: j.lowther@bham.ac.uk

Twitter: @jasonlowther 

Linkedin: Jason Lowther