Promoting ‘informal governance’ as a leadership asset: A case study of Bristol Pound



The aim of this impact project is to develop theoretical work on informal and diffused city governance through the case study of Bristol Pound (Bristol£). ‘Informal governance’ is about the networks and informal relations that underpin a broader approach to civic leadership. As public spending cuts reduce state capacity, new fluid spaces for non-state actors are created, transforming the ways that the state, market and civil society coalesce at city level. This project looks at how the Bristol£, as a high profile social enterprise, can work effectively in this new fluid environment exploring, with partners, their use of informal governance in seeking to provide leadership for a ‘fairer, stronger, happier local economy’. Bristol£ works strategically with the City Council, local businesses and national partners, seeking to transform how people view and use money in Bristol and beyond.

Project activities

This is a collaborative project working with Bristol£ and partner organisations through interviews and focus groups. Up to 15 interviews will be conducted with Bristol£ staff and partner organisations. Two focus groups will be held, one with Bristol£ staff and one with strategic partners. Workshop sessions will widen learning with partners beyond Bristol. Findings will be shared through draft reports, blogs and briefings and a final report will be disseminated widely via partner networks and events in London and Bristol

Intended outcomes

By the end of the project, practitioners (Bristol £, their partners and other stakeholders) will have a better practical understanding of how to utilise and manage informal governance to enhance their civic leadership potential. The reports and workshops sharing the findings of the project will give practitioners the knowledge and tools to make best use of the processes of informal governance.

This project will (i) promote more effective and inclusive local leadership, ultimately leading to better policy outcomes for the city of Bristol and (ii) build awareness of the influence of informal governance on city leadership amongst critical stakeholders, including policy makers and practitioners at different levels.

Project reports and outputs

1. Summary document from work with Bristol Pound staff, directors and strategic partners: ‘Informal governance’ and the impact of Bristol Pound on city leadership (PDF, 708kB), shared with audience members at the Bristol public event in December 2017. 
2. Bristol Green Capital Partnership - blog
3. Video recording of the Bristol public event in December 2017 with Robin Hambleton chairing and a panel of Caroline Bird, Ciaran Mundy (Bristol£), David Relph (Bristol Health Partners) and Sharon Woma (entrepreneur and Bristol£ board member) followed by audience questions and debate.
4. Informal governance and the Bristol Pound - final report (PDF, 492kB)
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