Assessing the impact of ‘informal governance’ on devolution in English cities
The aim of this research is to investigate the impact of ‘informal governance’ on devolution to English cities post the 2014 Scottish referendum. Informal governance can be defined as a means of decision-making that is un-codified, non-institutional and where social relationships and webs of influence play crucial roles. This research involves a case study of Bristol to examine the structures and processes that are currently guiding central-local relations and decisions about devolution in England. The study will be guided by four key research questions:
- In what ways does informal governance shape inter-governmental relations between Whitehall departments and the city of Bristol?
- What is the relationship between formal and informal governance in shaping inter-governmental relations and decisions about devolution in Bristol?
- What are the implications of informal governance for efficiency?
- What are the implications of informal governance for democracy?
This research will provide critical insights into how state and non-state actors are using formal and informal arrangements to manage inter-governmental relations and decisions about devolution to England’s cities.
The theme of this proposal fits squarely with the RSA’s research themes, as set out in the 2015-2020 Development Plan. More specifically, it relates to the themes of ‘territory, politics and governance’ and ‘regional and urban policy’. Although the study is UK based, it will generate theoretical and methodological reflections of interest to the RSA’s global membership.
Read the series of articles about Sarah`s research written for our blog:
- England’s devolution deals do not constitute a move away from traditional patterns of central-local relationships, though they may contain the seeds of change
- Without careful management back stage deal making could undermine English devolution
- Devolution to English cities is not sustainable without greater transparency and legitimacy in decision making.