Magazine article Public Finance

Elected Mayors 'Have Not Improved Council Services or Accountability'

Magazine article Public Finance

Elected Mayors 'Have Not Improved Council Services or Accountability'

Article excerpt

The elected mayor system is unpopular and does not lead to improvements in public services, a leading academic told MPs at an inquiry into local government accountability.

Speaking at the first hearing of the Committee on Standards in Public Life inquiry, Steve Leach, professor of local government at De Montfoit University in Leicester, criticised the reforms introduced by the 2000 Local Government AcL

'Mayors are more visible," he said. 'But there is no evidence that mayoral systems are more effective in terms of delivering performance improvement as assessed by Comprehensive Performance Assessments.

'What's so great about strong leadership? You want effective leadership that actually delivers in terms of CPA scores'

Leach said that while the mayoral system centralised power to stronger and more visible leaders, it also speeded up the decision-making process without ensuring better decisions were made.

Elected mayors had also failed to capture the public's imagination and proved unpopular with councillors, who preferred leaders to be directly accountable to their party groups. …

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