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Dr Sarah Ayres to chair Political Studies Association Research Commission

4 August 2015

Dr Sarah Ayres from the School for Policy Studies has been appointed as chair of the Political Studies Association’s (PSA) new Research Commission to investigate how informal governance in shaping devolution in English cities.

The Research Commission is one of two such bodies set up by the PSA to help identify emerging issues in the study and practice of politics. They will bring together academics, societies and practitioners to explore the formal and informal processes guiding constitutional change in England.

As the UK Government is proposing a range of ‘devolution deals’ with core cities, the issue of informal governance in devolution debates is timely. Each of these deals is to be individually brokered - a combination in reality of formal ‘front stage’ politics and informal ‘back stage’ negotiations. The Government has expressed its preference for Metro Mayors to ensure local leadership and accountability.

Professor Will Jennings of the Political Studies Association said: ‘Each Commission is addressing an issue of strategic importance and each will reflect on how the study of politics might respond to challenges and opportunities raised by the changing scope and form of politics in the 21st century.

‘Our ambition is for the profession, in collaboration with other disciplines and practitioners, to contribute to, and lead, current debates in public life and society more broadly.  The issue of constitutional change in England is high on this agenda and we look forward to publishing the Commission’s report in March 2016.’

Commissioners appointed alongside Dr Ayres are Paul Buddery (Royal Society of Arts), Jo Casebourne (Institute for Government), Ed Cox (Institute for Public Policy Research) and Mark Sandford (House of Commons Library).  The Commission will produce its final report in March 2016.

Further details about the work of the Commission will published on the PSA website.

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