What can a mayor do for your city?

With Metro Mayors off the table for now, what difference can a local authority elected mayor make in England's cities?

Briefing published on 19 December 2011 by Andrew Carter

Directly elected mayors have the potential to make a real difference to cities’ economic performance – they offer enhanced visibility; opportunities to exercise leadership; make strategic choices; and drive action through local authorities and their partners.

An elected mayor could use both formal and informal powers with the aim of overcoming four key governance challenges to economic policy making.  An elected mayor:

• Has the potential to help city authorities to be decisive on issues of strategic economic importance.

• Can act as a representative to local and central government.

• Could bring coherence to the actions of the public sector and collaborate with local authorities,businesses and other players in the wider local economy.

• Would be well placed to help cities navigate the complicated web of relationships with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Integrated Transport Authorities and others.

To be impactful and effective in this way, elected mayors must be afforded the powers to make strategic decisions for growth.

Ultimately we would like to see the introduction of metro mayors covering the functional economic areas of England’s largest cities.

Centre for Cities advocates that the package of powers outlined in our submission document will give mayors the chance to have a positive influence on their cities.