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How Public Leadership is Addressing the Need to Bring about Change in Liverpool City

European Public Leadership in Crisis?

ISBN: 978-1-78350-901-0, eISBN: 978-1-78350-902-7

Publication date: 18 October 2014



The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of the choices and difficulties at a city level that faced public leaders who were trying to pursue economic regeneration while at the same time coping with austerity policies introduced by national government.


We are using a case study approach to assess both the type of strategic leadership being offered and the public governance issues faced by Liverpool City.


In terms of leadership, the mayor fitted what we describe in the paper as the pragmatic type of strategic leader (long-term perspective providing foresight, and inclusiveness in formulating strategy and plans). The directly elected mayoral system seemed to have a number of advantages, perhaps the key one being that the mayor, acted for the entire city, rather than being the leader of the city council as he was before. New channels of social dialogue had been opened up, especially with the business community. The major difficulties in governance were the overstretched entrepreneurial and strategic capacity of the centre of the council and a lack of coherence in terms of multi-level governance.

Social implications

The approach to public leadership in Liverpool represents a major break from the past; it was a widening of political inclusiveness to embrace people with a range of political perspectives. It was also a major break from the past in terms of building good relations between public leaders and business leaders. The prize was economic regeneration to create a better platform for social and economic inclusiveness.



Joyce, P. and Fitzgerald, G. (2014), "How Public Leadership is Addressing the Need to Bring about Change in Liverpool City", European Public Leadership in Crisis? (Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management, Vol. 3), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 27-46.



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