Bryony Rudkin

How do councillors use stories?  A case study of how policy is made in UK local government 


Supervisor: Dr Stephen Jeffares and Dr Karin Bottom

This is an interpretive study using an ethnographic research approach to gather data to test the hypothesis that councillors in the UK tell and exchange stories in their engagement with the local government policy making process.  It is based on a case study looking in detail at how councillors behave and speak in formal meetings of a metropolitan authority in the north of England, with privileged access to participants, both councillors and officers.  Data has been gathered from observation of meetings alongside interviews with participants.  This study seeks to explore how councillors perform their duties in formal meetings in order to shed light on their roles as policy actors.  As a practitioner in this field with over 20 years of direct experience of being a locally elected representative, Bryony seek to draw on her own understanding and experience of UK local government from the perspective of the councillor which is a field relatively unexplored in the existing literature.


A councillor in her home town for over 20 years, Bryony completed a Masters in Public Policy at INLOGOV in 2014.  She is currently the deputy leader of a district council, an active member of her political party at local, regional and national level and a member of the UK delegation to the Congress of the Council of Europe.  She has worked for the Local Government Association in England and Wales for the past 15 years, delivering training and support to councillors and participating in peer reviews in a variety of authorities.  She has worked on governance reviews in emerging democracies in central and Eastern Europe as a member of the Monitoring Committee of the Congress of the Council of Europe.


  • BA (Swansea)
  • MSc (Birmingham)

Research interests

  • Local government practice and performance
  • Political ethnography
  • The role and purpose of meetings in governance settings 

Memberships of Professional Bodies

  • Student Fellow, Royal Anthropological Institute

Conference Papers

  • “The making of policy in an English town: how councillors play their part in participation in meetings. An ethnographic study by a reflective practitioner”, Royal Anthropological Institute conference, Anthropology and Geography: Dialogues Past, Present and Future, September 2020

Contact details


Twitter: @bryony1963