10 lessons for the new Mayor of London

Our advice to Sadiq Khan on how to hit the ground running as Mayor of London.

Briefing published on 9 May 2016 by Centre for Cities

As Sadiq Khan settles into his role as the new Mayor of London, our briefing sets out 10 pieces of advice that will enable him to hit the ground running.

The 10 lessons for the new Mayor of London are:

  1. Have a mission to guide your Mayoral term and your big policy priorities

  2. Set out clear and achievable strategic priorities to deliver on your mission

  3. Seek to exploit both the formal and informal powers of the Mayoralty to deliver on your priorities

  4. Take direct ownership for appointing senior members of your political team

  5. Be specific about your team’s responsibilities and roles

  6. Prioritise securing the right Chief of Staff – they will be your most important political appointee

  7. Appoint trusted Deputy Mayors to lead the four big policy areas: Housing, Transport, Policy and Planning, and Police and Crime

  8. Resist the temptation to have advisors for everything

  9. Establish a strong working relationship with the boroughs

  10. Be pragmatic in dealing with central government, and build broad alliances to help lobby for change

These lessons have been drawn from interviews with current and former senior political advisors and Greater London Authority (GLA) senior executives, conducted under Chatham House rules. Each of these interviewees offered their own insights on the last decade and a half of London government, the approaches that have worked, the pitfalls to avoid, and the things they wish they had understood better at the time.

The interviews highlight a need for Sadiq Khan to have a clear understanding of what he wants to achieve, the powers at his disposal, and how he intends to maximise his broader political power as the directly elected leader of the capital. The way in which the new Mayor chooses to organise his office, appoint his team, prioritise policies, and interact with key figures outside of City Hall will all be key to his chances of success.

Here are the 10 lessons in one handy gif:


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